Joybelle Barlow ’16 hadn’t planned on applying for the George J. Mitchell Scholarship this year, but when she learned that the scholarship would allow her to study female entrepreneurship and social enterprise in Ireland, she realized she couldn’t pass up this opportunity. With the added bonus of studying in Ireland, where her mother is from, Barlow decided to apply for the one-year scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in entrepreneurship. Sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance, the Mitchell Scholarship supports between 10 and 12 scholars annually in their pursuit of master’s degrees at universities across Ireland. The Mitchell Scholarship, named in honor of the former U.S. Senator's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, is designed to introduce and connect future American leaders to the island of Ireland while recognizing and fostering academic excellence, leadership, and a commitment to public service.
Barlow has been interested in entrepreneurship since watching her mother build her own business, and this interest led her to major in International Business and Marketing with a minor in Spanish while she was an undergraduate in the Honors College at UofSC. Barlow spent two summers working in Guatemala on a coffee farm working with local coffee farmers and learning about the positive and negative effects of fair-trade coffee on their work. That experience introduced her to the power of business as an economic driver. Her senior thesis on 'The Exploration of Fair Trade Activities in the Coffee Industry” was awarded first place in Social Sciences for thesis research at UofSC’s 2016 Discovery Day, and she earned Graduation with Leadership Distinction in Global Learning as well as the Outstanding Senior Award. Since graduation, Barlow has traveled the world, working with NGOs in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Zambia, as well as spending nearly 3 years working as a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Currently she works as a business manager for Interi.
Last month, Barlow was selected as a semi-finalist from of a field of over 450 applicants, and following a conversation with Trina Vargo and Carolina Chavez of the US-Ireland Alliance, was named one of 20 finalists for the Mitchell Scholarship. She will interview on Saturday, November 21st and if selected, will be one of 11 Mitchell Scholars to pursue a master’s degree in Ireland in 2021-2022. Long term, Barlow seeks to support female-led businesses, programs, and policies in the USA and abroad to harness their untapped potential, helping to drive sustainable and equitable economic opportunity and growth.
Applicants who are interested in applying for the Mitchell Scholarship should be in conversation with National Fellowships and Scholar Programs national fellowship advisors. Current students must be nominated by the university, which includes being evaluated and interviewed by our campus Mitchell committee, chaired by Dr. Ed Madden (English). Oher members of the university’s Mitchell committee include Yvonne Ivory (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures); Andrea L’Hommedieu (TCL and South Caroliniana Library); Steve Lynn (SC Honors College); and Emily Mann (Public Health/HPEB).