Political Science senior Macken Keefe named Mitchell Scholar

November 22, 2022 - Michigan State University

Macken Keefe, an Honors College senior majoring in political science and global and international studies in social science, has been selected for the nationally competitive George J. Mitchell Scholarship.

Macken KeefeThe US-Ireland Alliance established the George J. Mitchell Scholarship for future American leaders to pursue a year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland. This year, 12 Mitchell Scholars were selected from 306 applicants.

Keefe is the sixth Mitchell Scholar from Michigan State University. He is pursuing a joint Master of Public Policy degree in the College of Social Science, with minors in peace and justice studies, and law, justice and public policy.

As a member of Social Science Scholars and Political Science Scholars, his research mentors include John Waller, Ph.D., Brendan Mullan, Ph.D., Heather McCauley, Ph.D., and Ryan Black, Ph.D. Keefe graduated from Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead, California.

Keefe plans to study conflict resolution and reconciliation at Trinity College Dublin in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“It’s an indescribable honor to represent Lake Arrowhead, East Lansing, and the United States as a Mitchell Scholar next year. I’m incredibly excited to study in a city with as much history, energy, and intrigue as Belfast,” Keefe said. “At the same time, I look forward to exploring all of Ireland over the next year. I’m forever grateful to my friends and mentors at Michigan State University for their endless support, wisdom, and encouragement.”

University leaders describe Keefe as a strong representative of the academic excellence nurtured at Michigan State.

“I know all Spartans join me with great pride in congratulating Macken Keefe as the university’s sixth Mitchell Scholar,” said Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “We trust in him the ability to make our world a better place, using knowledge to push for change.”

“The breadth and depth of Macken Keefe’s scholarly achievements as a student at Michigan State University affirm how deserving he is of this prestigious award and opportunity,” said MSU Interim Provost Designee Thomas Jeitschko. “We wish Macken all the best in his next academic pursuit at Trinity College Dublin, Belfast.”

MSU College of Social Science Dean Mary A. Finn praised Macken for his hard work and expects to see more from him in the future.

“It is always wonderful to see our social scientists rise to the top. We are so proud of Macken and his impactful work. We are so excited to see what he does next,” said Dr. Finn.

Jeff Conroy-Krutz, chair of the Political Science department, noted that Macken works on some of the most important issues facing scholars today.

“We are so pleased that Macken has been recognized in this way for his hard work and commitment to tackling some of the most pressing issues of our day, including conflict and discrimination. He embodies the best of what a Spartan is capable of when they move beyond the classroom and put theory into practice,” Dr. Conroy-Krutz said.

Christopher P. Long, dean of the MSU Honors College, noted Keefe’s passion to better understand the challenges and perceptions of immigrants in Ireland to help inform U.S. policy.

“I join his mentors and family in congratulating him for this outstanding achievement.”

One of Macken's mentors, Dr. John Waller, said along with Macken's academic achievements, he has already published "a superb journal article on how the news media depicts the use of illicit drugs" and is a self-taught expert on the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

"Macken came to MSU from California and has had a stellar Spartan career," Dr. Waller said. " Macken has racked up an array of demanding internships: for a legal non-profit in New York, where he helped refugees gain asylum, as a judicial intern with The Honorable Rosemarie E. Aquilina, and as a legal intern with a lawyer in Traverse City. As a Mitchell Scholar in Northern Ireland, Macken will become a devoted and informed advocate for those who have to flee their homelands due to conflict, persecution, and climate change.”

 The National and International Fellowships and Scholarships (NIFS) Office, administered by the Honors College, helps ­­­­­interested undergraduate and graduate students pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application process.