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Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2006

IU Bloomington senior named Mitchell Scholar

Jan. 13, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kathleen Claussen, a senior at Indiana University Bloomington, has been named one of 12 national recipients of the 2006-07 George J. Mitchell Scholarship.

Kathleen Claussen

Print-Quality Photo

The fourth IU student to be named a Mitchell Scholar, Claussen will seek a graduate degree in international politics at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Launched in 1998, the Mitchell Scholarship recognizes outstanding young Americans who exhibit the highest standards of academic excellence, leadership and service. The scholarship, which is administered by the US-Ireland Alliance, is named in honor of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell, who chaired the historic Northern Ireland peace process in the mid-to-late 1990s. It is supported by an endowment established by the government of Ireland.

Though still relatively new, the Mitchell Scholarships have become one of the most prestigious, intensely competitive fellowship programs in the United States. Many recipients have withdrawn from the long-established Rhodes, Marshall and Fulbright competitions to pursue a Mitchell Scholarship. This year's competition included 236 applicants from 171 colleges and universities across the nation.

A resident of Bethlehem, Pa., Claussen will receive a bachelor of arts degree in May with a double major in comparative social policy and ideology (through IU's Individualized Major Program) and Spanish. She has a double minor in political science and West European studies. At IU, she founded Conversations About Service and Engagement, an international videoconference program that connects IU students with their peers around the world for the purpose of discussing international politics, global affairs and public service.

Actively involved in community service activities, Claussen, a Wells Scholar and member of the IU Hutton Honors College, frequently represents IU at national and international civic engagement conferences. She has conducted research and interned in various countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago. In 2005 she was awarded IU's Palmer-Brandon Prize, which she used to fund a study of civil society in Kosovo.

At Queen's University, she will study the topics of citizenship and conflict resolution as they relate to the concept of identity. Then she plans to attend a U.S. law school with the goal of one day becoming an international judge.

As a legal scholar in the field of human rights and humanitarian law, Claussen said she will strive to further international justice.

"The affirmation of universal rights and the simultaneous acknowledgment of sweeping disparities throughout the world have compelled me to want to marry my passion for knowledge with a commitment to action," Claussen said. "I aspire to live up to former Senator Mitchell's example: to not only serve the public good but to assertively realize positive change. I'll contribute my experience, hoping to inspire others to join in our collective vision as a result."

More information about the Mitchell Scholarships, along with pictures and biographical sketches of this year's winners, is available at

To speak to Claussen, contact Ryan Piurek, IU Media Relations, 812-855-5393 or