"Agent for Change"

Senior wins Mitchell Scholarship for study in Ireland
Senior wins Mitchell Scholarship for study in Ireland
Friday, December 6, 2013

Simon Boehme '14 has become a staple of the Cornell community, taking on leadership roles in and outside of the classroom.

His latest accomplishments?

In the past week, Boehme won a Mitchell Scholarship, which sends him to Ireland for a year of study, and was accepted by a Cambridge University graduate program.

He was also named to a federal education panel overseen by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; through 2019, Boehme will serve on the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

Boehme is the first Cornell student to receive the Mitchell Scholarship, awarded annually to 12 people.

After graduation from ILR in May, he plans to further his research on workplace conflict management at National University Ireland, Maynooth.

Boehme says he is excited to continue his studies on the island of Ireland, which has seen its share of conflict, as well as successful conflict resolution.

"Mitchell stuck out to me because Ireland is the perfect place to study conflict resolution. Understanding their past helps me build on my ILR experience and coursework in conflict," Boehme said.

The scholarship is named after George J. Mitchell, a former U.S. Senate majority leader instrumental in peace negotiations for Northern Ireland's 1998 Good Friday Agreement, for which he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Mitchell Scholarship winners study for one year at institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Boehme's work in conflict management includes research at ILR's Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution, where he has helped analyze contractual agreements between teachers and boards of education in 695 public school districts in New York state.

Boehme has also crafted leadership curriculum for the African Leadership Academy that is being used in Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, South Africa and Ghana.

Boehme plans to attend law school after returning to the United States.

Ultimately, Boehme said, he hopes to return to his home state of Michigan to work as a non-profit consultant to school districts on matters of negotiation and education management.

The Mitchell Scholarship comes on the heels of Boehme's Truman Scholarship, awarded in May.

His resume is impressive, but Boehme said he is "humbled" by the Mitchell Scholarship.

"When you put yourself through one door, many more open up," he said.

"I really view this award as the culmination of my Cornell experience. I feel like this award will let me get practical experience and help me be an effective agent for change."

When asked about his ability to juggle so many activities at once, Boehme emphasized the importance of finding balance.

"I try to create free time, but I stay busy doing things that I love."

"Sleep is sometimes compromised," he joked.

That's easily understood, after seeing Boehme's resume, which lists roles including:

  • researcher with the Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement in Mysore, India, through ILR's Global Service Learning program.
  • co-founder and co-president of the Cornell Global Law Brigade, which traveled to Panama in May
  • founder and president of Red Ideas, a Cornell organization seeking to encourage innovations geared towards improving the human condition
  • White House intern, an opportunity which unfolded after a successful campaign by Boehme and high school classmates that resulted in President Barack Obama speaking at their graduation in Kalamazoo, Mich.