Senior fellow Vance '11 named Mitchell Scholar

| 11/28/10 11:00pm

Anise Vance '11 has been named a George J. Mitchell Scholar by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance for the 2011-2012 academic year one of 12 students selected from across the nation for the honor. Vance will spend next year in Northern Ireland, pursuing a master's degree in geography at Queens University Belfast and researching religious identity and space in Ireland.

Vance's academic interests focus on racial identity and space, he said in an interview with The Dartmouth. A senior fellow and geography major, Vance spent last summer exploring racial identity formation and segregation in Hartford, Conn., he said. Vance is expanding upon this research though his work in the College's Senior Fellows program, in which students complete a broad academic research project during their senior years, often in lieu of taking classes.

Vance, who said he has an "intellectual obsession" with segregation, developed the idea for his research based on his interest in racial inequity in the United States, he said.

He decided to apply for the scholarship because he wanted to continue researching space and identity formation, but this time in Ireland, he said. While his research has focused on identity and segregation as they relate to race, his research in Ireland will tackle the same issues as they relate to religion, he said.

Vance said he was particularly interested in Queens University because its geography department is "fantastic" and because of the University's location in Belfast, where there has been a significant history of religious conflict, particularly in the last 40 years.

"It's the place to study if you are going to be looking at religious identity and religious conflict," he said.

Vance's research in Ireland will "complement and augment the work he did as an [undergraduate,]" Vance's senior fellowship adviser, geography professor Richard Wright, said.

To prepare for his year in Ireland, Vance has begun reviewing existing research and literature pertaining to Irish history, religious identity and "shared space," he said.

Wright described Vance as "an ideal student" and "a delight to work with" a student whose maturity made his classmates "see him as a natural leader."

"In class, he's very gracious and generous," Wright said. "He certainly has his own opinions. I think he's a very good listener."

Wright has been Vance's "primary mentor and adviser in the academic world," Vance said.

Following his year in Ireland, Vance plans to pursue a doctorate in the United States in sociology, focused on issues of racial identity and space, he said.

At Dartmouth, Vance has been involved with Inter-Community Council, the First-Year Student Enrichment Program, Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth and the Multi-Faith Council. He has also served as a member of the Afro-American Society executive board and served as the student director of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at the Tucker Foundation.

Micaela Klein '10, who met Vance through ICC and later worked with him in FYSEP, described Vance as "an amazing role model for all students."

"He has a rare ability to quickly size up situations and not only perceive injustice but articulate both passionately and artfully how members of a community can do and be better," Klein wrote in an e-mail to The Dartmouth.

Vance said he has been trying to apply what he learns in the classroom to his involvement outside the classroom "whether that's in social space at Dartmouth or segregation across the country."

Vance was involved with Social Life Committee, which investigated the expansion of alternative social spaces on campus following student demands for social spaces outside the Greek system, The Dartmouth previously reported. Vance also worked to develop One Wheelock and "The Listening Room" performance series.

The U.S.-Ireland Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to continuing relations between the United States and Ireland, established the Mitchell scholarship program "to educate future American leaders about the island of Ireland and to provide tomorrow's leaders with an understanding about, an interest in, and an affinity with, the island from which 38 million Americans claim descent," according to the organization's website.

The scholarship is named after former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who was involved in the Northern Ireland peace process, according to the website.

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