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MSI student will study in Ireland as U-M’s first George J. Mitchell Scholarship recipient

Wednesday, 11/25/2020

Marilu Duque, a graduate student in the School of Information, has been selected as the University of Michigan’s first recipient of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship.

The Mitchell Scholarship is an initiative of the US-Ireland Alliance. It is named after former US Senator George Mitchell, in recognition of his work on the Northern Ireland peace process. It provides 12 Americans with the opportunity to pursue a year of graduate study in Ireland. 

Headshot of Marilu Duque
Marilu Duque

The annual scholarship is one of the nation’s most prestigious academic honors, and one of the few founded and led by a woman. The 2022 class of Mitchell scholars will begin their studies in September 2021.

I am beyond honored to be named a Mitchell Scholar. Being chosen means that I will spend a year building meaningful bonds with fellow scholars, and the people of Ireland, while joining a community of people truly passionate about creating positive change in their respective fields,” Duque said. 

Her work focuses on national security, cybersecurity, machine learning (ML) and research. She became interested in studying cyber security in Ireland while conducting her current master's thesis. 

After learning about Ireland's National Cybersecurity Strategy, which made citizen security and privacy protections a top priority, she identified a master's program at Applied Cyber Security at Technological University Dublin. Duque is from Deltona, Florida and before joining UMSI for her Master of Science in Information (MSI) degree, she earned her Bachelor’s in Integrated Digital Media at New York University. 

As a first-generation American to Cuban and Dominican parents, Duque is joining a diverse and record-breaking class of scholars. She noted, “Being a Mitchell Scholar enables first-generation students like myself, the opportunity to learn about Ireland directly and gain new perspectives on how our work may impact diverse international communities.”

Duque was selected from an applicant pool of 453 students. Half of the finalists were people of color, 30 percent were from schools not previously represented and 70 percent of all 453 applicants were women.

Henry Dyson, Director of U-M’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF), said of Duque: “Not only has she excelled in a STEM field herself, she has offered a hand up to the next generation of Latina women pursuing STEM careers as the NYC Regional Lead for the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's Code as a Second Language program and by telling her own story at various conferences.”

U-M students interested in pursuing the Mitchell Scholarship or similar national fellowships and scholarships can look at the ONSF website for resources and contact information. ONSF works with students throughout all 19 schools and colleges at U-M. 

The recruitment process for the 2023 class of the Mitchell Scholarship—as well as the Rhodes, Marshall, and Gates Cambridge Scholarships—begins in January 2021.

- Kate Cammell, Writer UMSI