Traylor ’15 receives CIEE honor
Spencer Traylor '15 describes his experience at CIEE headquarters in August. Senator George Mitchell looks on.
Spencer Traylor ’15, a Maine native, had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East this summer and study the conflicts going on there. Traylor was chosen to go on this trip and came upon this opportunity as a result of being a Keybank Mitchell Scholar.
Former Maine Senator George Mitchell, born and raised in Waterville, started the Mitchell Scholarship Program. The program chooses one student from every public high school in Maine, totaling to about 130 students, and gives them $6,000 over the four years of college.
The program also provides opportunities that support networking, such as the Mitchell Institute Leadership Experience weekend and gala events, as well as events that help the students prepare for college. The scholarship program tends to choose a lot of first-generation college students, like Traylor, and then provides them the support for adjusting to college.
Traylor is also a Keybank Mitchell Scholar, a program that is even more exclusive, because only one Mitchell Scholar per Maine county is chosen for this honor.
Traylor had the special opportunity to travel to the Middle East as a result of a new partnership between the Mitchell Scholarship Program and the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) Study Abroad program. CIEE is based in Portland, Maine and was looking for a way to give back to the Maine community, ultimately deciding to partner with the Mitchell Program to find two Maine students to send abroad.
This partnership suited the Mitchell Program’s needs, as they were looking for a way to send their students abroad. Mitchell was the senate majority leader and did extensive work in ending the global conflicts. He was a major player in leading peace talks in Northern Ireland and was the United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace.
Traylor and another Mitchell Scholar, Amanda Hall of Yale University, were chosen as a result of an application process open to all Mitchell Scholars. Echoing the works of Mitchell, Traylor went to the Middle East and Hall went to Ireland. The two students were a part of a pilot program, and as a result of their positive experiences, the Mitchell Foundation is looking to giving all Mitchell Scholars an opportunity to go abroad.
Traylor was particularly interested in the Middle East, as he is Middle Eastern studies major, and he attended a program in high school called “Seeds of Peace” that brings 200 students from Israel, Palestine, Jordan and the United States to a camp in Maine to do normal camp activities and also discuss international issues. Traylor was inspired by this event. “It was my first introduction to anything international,” he said.
Traylor spent 12 days in the Middle East, based in Jordan and visiting the city of Amman there, as well as Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Traylor was able to study Arab culture as well as a variety of Middle Eastern conflicts in the area, such as those in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Israel and Palestine.
After the program, both Traylor and Hall gave speeches to everyone at CIEE, the Mitchell Program and Mitchell about their positive experiences. Traylor will continue to study these conflicts at the College.