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Auburn has its first Mitchell Scholar

Marian Royston.

According to Marian Royston, the George J. Mitchell Scholarship honors former U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell and recognizes “achievement, leadership and a commitment to community and public service.” And she should know.

Royston is the first Auburn student to receive the highly-selected scholarship, which awards one year of graduate study in Ireland; Royston will study Leadership for Sustainable Rural Development at Queens University of Belfast, Northern Ireland for one year beginning September 2013.

As a senior majoring in history and minoring in community and civic engagement and political science, Royston is heavily involved in the College of Liberal Arts’ community and civic engagement initiative.

Royston’s extensive accomplishments include participating in Living Democracy, mentoring high school students every other Thursday in Notasulga, Ala. and conducting oral histories of Willie Wyatt Jr. and Anthony Lee of the Lee vs. Macon County desegregation case.

“(The oral histories) commemorate the 50th anniversary of the case, which will actually be this year,” Royston says. “The transcriptions and the tapes will be a gift to the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center. Hopefully they’ll be a tool for future historians to use as they research to understand what happened.”

Royston also worked in Hobson City, Ala. for 10 weeks, researching community development issues. Hobson City is considered to be Alabama’s first all-black municipality.

“It was a really good way to experience community development on the local level and to understand rural issues a little bit better,” Royston said.

After her year of studying in Belfast, Royston said she hopes to attend law school and work for a federal or state agency through rural development or rural policy issues.

h/t Paul Harris.

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