Honors College student earns Mitchell Scholarship

Joel Arnold, a recent Michigan State University (MSU) graduate with degrees in social relations and policy from James Madison College and urban and regional planning from the College of Social Science; and Margaret Born, an Honors College senior majoring in comparative cultures and politics in James Madison College, and Arabic in the College of Arts and Letters, are two of 12 students in the country to earn the Mitchell Scholarship, which is a competitive graduate school scholarship.

margaret born

Arnold and Born are two of the three Mitchell Scholars from MSU. The last Mitchell Scholar from MSU was selected in 2001.

The US-Ireland Alliance established the George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program, which allows up to 12 future American leaders to pursue a year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“Congratulations to Joel and Margaret on receiving this prestigious recognition,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “As Spartans, they have the talent and tenacity to make an extraordinary impact. I join the entire MSU community in wishing Joel and Margaret good luck on their journeys to make the world a better place.”

The National and International Fellowship and Scholarship (NIFS) office at Michigan State University, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes.

“Joel and Margaret’s curiosity and thirst for knowledge will take them far in this world,” said MSU Honors College Dean Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore. “Congratulations to them for earning this high honor. I would also like to acknowledge the importance of faculty and other mentors who provided support and encouragement to MSU’s newest Mitchell Scholars.”

Arnold grew up in Flint, Michigan and part of his decision for his studies was because of the economic collapse of his hometown. Through his roles as blight management analyst and master planning intern for the city of Flint, he has come to understand and is committed to helping solve the problems of not only Flint, but also other areas that have fallen on hard times.

Arnold said, “I am honored to have been awarded the prestigious George Mitchell Scholarship. I plan to use the Mitchell to study how communities change and adapt to challenging economic circumstances, and Ireland provides a uniquely enriching environment to study in. The opportunities that were presented to me as a student at Michigan State helped to sharpen my desire to lead, and I look forward to this opportunity and the potential that it offers.”

As an undergraduate, Arnold expanded a program called “LiveWorkDetroit!,” to MSU. The program is designed to keep Michigan college graduates in state and reverse the effects of the “brain drain” occurring in cities like Detroit. He also studied abroad at Regent’s University in London. He graduated from Davison High School.

Arnold plans to study social policy and urban planning in Ireland.

“Joel just combines boundless energy with an unwavering desire to improve the world around him,” said James Madison College Associate Professor Constance Hunt. “He has dedicated himself in his scholarly work, leadership and service to address the deeply intransigent challenges in urban America, especially within Michigan, where some of the hardest hit manufacturing cities are.”

Born is the founder and president of Project Nur, a student organization devoted to combating Islamophobia through education and cross-cultural interaction. She has also served as caucus chair and leader for inclusion on the James Madison College Student Senate.

Born said, “I consider myself impossibly fortunate for this opportunity. I believe that understanding conflict requires a holistic approach, and at Dublin City University I will be able to study the intersection of development, environment, and conflict. I am so grateful to everyone that made this dream a reality.”

Born has held internships with the Michigan House of Representatives and Refugee Development Center, and served as program aide at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique. Born now works as a peer advisor for the MSU Office of Study Abroad. Born is from Jackson, Wyoming and graduated from Natrona County High School.

She plans to study international peace studies in Ireland.

“Maggie has a large dose of humility and generosity along with outstanding intellectual and leadership abilities,” said James Madison College Associate Professor Jennifer Goett. “She does not engage in activities to pad her resume or feed her ego, but instead acts from a place of passion and commitment to social justice.”