Manhattan College alumna Kathleen White ’14 was recently selected as one of 12 members of the 2018 class of George J. Mitchell Scholars, which will fund her master’s degree in sociology at University College Cork in Ireland. At University College Cork, White will study Ireland’s juvenile justice system, gaining an international perspective on criminal justice reform and juvenile justice issues.
A member of the class of 2014, White received the Gunn Medal, the College’s highest undergraduate honor, for her work on a variety of human rights issues during her four years at Manhattan, which she has continued after graduation. White graduated from Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in history and peace studies. A social justice advocate, Kathleen joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after college and served as outreach coordinator for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth where she worked on abolishing juvenile life in prison without parole.
“My experiences at Manhattan College laid the foundation for my interests in human rights, social justice, and criminal justice reform,” White said. “I recognized the urgency for studying how other countries with similar legal systems, such as Ireland, approach incarceration.”
White’s devotion to criminal justice reform began at Manhattan when she participated in a criminal justice ethics program on Rikers Island, and studied criminal justice theories alongside inmates and debated possible reforms. She served as president of JustPeace, Manhattan College’s human rights and social action organization, and most recently worked as a job coach and case manager in Jersey City, helping residents returning home from prison to reintegrate into their communities.
The Mitchell scholarship program was created nearly 20 years ago by Trina Vargo, founder of the U.S.-Ireland Alliance. The 12 scholarships are named in honor of the former Maine senator’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service, and spend a year of postgraduate study at institutions of higher learning in Ireland.