Graduate Molly Hayes awarded George Mitchell Scholarship

Author: Kate Garry

Molly Hayes

Molly Hayes, a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been awarded a 2014 George Mitchell Scholarship.

Awarded to only 12 people every year, the George Mitchell Scholarship is sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance. The nationally competitive award is named after the former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who served as chairman in the Northern Ireland peace process. The scholarship is designed to connect future American leaders with Ireland, and provides tuition, accommodations, and living, and travel stipends.

Hayes, who majored in English and Arabic in the College of Arts and Letters, is the first Mitchell Scholar from Notre Dame since 2007. She will use the scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in postcolonial and world literatures at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Hayes is currently the Kenya Desk Officer at the U.S. Department of State, where she led the Washington-based crisis response management for the September terrorist attack at Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. She was a deputy coordinator for the Egypt Task Force during the Arab Spring. Hayes has also served as desk officer for Morocco, Western Sahara and Tunisia; as North Africa adviser to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs at the U.N. General Assembly; and as staff assistant to the Coordinator for Counterterrorism.

While an undergraduate at Notre Dame in 2008, she co-founded the ND-ABROAD initiative, which aims to promote security and dignity abroad through education in true cultural sensitivity. Hayes also was a part of restructuring Notre Dame’s orientation and re-entry programs, and she created a documentary on sexual assault and gender issues. She also founded a University Counseling Center support group for students who experienced trauma while abroad.

Hayes’ Mitchell Scholarship was made possible in part through her participation in Notre Dame’s Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE). CUSE provides undergraduate students in all the University’s colleges opportunities for research, scholarship, and creative projects. The center also assists students in finding faculty mentors and funding and venues for the publication or presentation of their work, promotes applications to national fellowship programs, and provides assistance and guidance to students throughout the process.

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Originally published by Brittany Collins at