Mark Brennan

Mark standing in front of the ocean

Mitchell Scholarship, 2013-2014

I valued putting together my Mitchell Scholarship application because crafting that one 1000 word essay gave me a mandate to synthesize all the experiences that had shaped my values and commitment to service to-date, starting in 2004 working in a summer youth program and culminating in 2012 researching for a year in Senegal. The year in Ireland was similarly introspective. Via coursework I learned what sort of math and computing I liked most. I questioned my assumptions on international and public affairs by debating and exchanging books with the other Mitchell Scholars. Frequent pub ‘banter’, weekly math department soccer, and the occasional Sunday dinner with the family of one of the 10-some students in my MSc program collectively gave me a sense of Ireland and Europe. I had switched my academic focus – from policy to applied math – half way through college, but remained committed to public service, and the Mitchell Scholarship afforded me a year at the unique, public- and industrially-oriented math department at the University of Limerick to continue to explore and eventually bring together all my interests.