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Welcome to the Family: Resources for Mitchell Scholars
Whether you attend college in Maine or outside our great state, we always welcome the chance to stay in close contact with you. We hope you will keep the following resources in mind as they are available to support you throughout your college years, and to help prepare you for a lifetime of fulfillment and success!
Mitchell Institute Basics
What do you need to know as a Mitchell Scholar? Here are some key points to remember.
How to receive your Scholarship Check
We strive to make our scholarship check disbursement process straightforward and simple, but please keep these few things in mind:
- You do not need to send anything to us — no transcript necessary, no minimum GPA, and no renewal process!
- You need to be enrolled for at least half-time status for the spring semester at your college or university. We will contact your school directly in late fall to verify this.
- Your scholarship check will be mailed to your college by mid-January. Please make sure your college’s financial aid office has a copy of your Mitchell Scholarship Terms of Award document since it confirms your annual scholarship amount and the disbursement timing. Most colleges are willing to credit your student account with the scholarship amount even if your check arrives on a different schedule than the tuition payment deadline.
- The check will be written out to both you and your school; as soon as you receive notification from us you will need to sign the check at your financial services office, after which the funds will be credited to your account. It is especially important to let us know in advance if you will not be on campus in January to sign the check.
- Please notify us as soon as possible if you plan to study abroad or off-campus, take a leave of absence, transfer to another school, or graduate early so we can plan accordingly.
- You have up to six years to receive a total of four scholarship checks.
How to Stay in Touch
Keep us posted on updates or questions. Whether you are enrolled in school or on leave, we are always happy to hear from you.
- Keep us updated on new contact information, changes in majors, transfer news, and plans for study abroad or leave of absence by sending the information to email@example.com.
- Join the Mitchell Institute Scholar and Alumni Network on Facebook for updates on events and resources, and the Mitchell Institute Scholars and Alumni LinkedIn group for career and leadership development information.
- Complete the annual survey that we send to you — the results help us to understand more specifically how we can support you.
- Come visit us in our Portland office if you are passing through the area during the summer or over a school break. We love visitors, so please let us know if you can stop by!
How to support the Mitchell Institute Community
Whether you are a first-year college student or a seasoned graduate, there are many meaningful ways to be involved:
- Scholarship promotion: spread the word in your home community and beyond about the Mitchell Institute and its mission — your endorsement makes a huge difference! If you are a first-year college student, keep an eye out for an email in the spring with information about taking part in the award ceremony for the next Mitchell Scholar from your high school.
- Support college-going aspirations: the Mitchell Institute collaborates with various organizations such as Maine College Circle, Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, and Let’s Get Ready to connect Mitchell Scholars with fun and inspiring volunteer opportunities across the state. Keep an eye out for email invitations from us, and just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are specifically interested in this type of work.
- Career connections: you can help other Mitchell Scholars by sharing information about employers who have hired you for internships and jobs — and open positions they are seeking to fill — via the Mitchell Institute LinkedIn group and through Mitchell Institute staff.
- Fundraising: let us know if you have ideas or leads on potential donors, and we always welcome testimonials that can be shared in our communications.
Mitchell Institute Resources
As a member of the Mitchell Institute family, you have access to a wide variety of wraparound resources to support you through college graduation and beyond.
Mitchell Fellowship Award Program
- Spring Round: apply between March 1 and April 1 for endeavors that take place between June and November.
- Fall Round: apply between October 1 and November 1 for endeavors that take place between December and May.
- Mitchell Scholars and Alumni are encouraged to apply!
- Fellowship Award amounts are available for up to $1,500 each; click here to see examples of how these stipends have supported Mitchell Scholars.
- Recipients are asked to commit to a community service project of their choice to “pay forward” the Fellowship Award.
- Be sure to check your email and our social media channels for a link to the online application in the month leading up to the opening of each application round.
The Mitchell Institute Network
- Mitchell Institute staff members are available to connect with Scholars and Alumni one-on-one to discuss academic, personal, or career-related questions or concerns, whether in person for a “no-agenda coffee” meeting or by phone, email, Skype, or private messaging via social media.
- Mitchell Institute Alumni Council (MIAC) members work tirelessly to support Scholars and Alumni in whatever ways they can; Mitchell Institute Leadership Experience II (MILE II) is an annual career and leadership development event planned carefully by MIAC members.
- Mitchell Institute Board members welcome the opportunity to share career advice and to facilitate introductions to colleagues in their fields of expertise.
- Did you know that our Scholars attend approximately 100 different colleges and universities across the country, and even in Canada? Be sure to share your career interests with each other since it is likely that someone will have a parent, friend, classmate, professor, or employer contact who can support your career exploration.
- The SOS Fund (Support Our Scholars) provides a one-time “lift” to current Mitchell Scholars who encounter unforeseen financial crises that may potentially derail college completion.
- SOS Fund assistance is granted on a case-by-case basis through consultation with Mitchell Institute staff members. Please contact a member of our team to start the process of being considered for this resource.
- Examples of previous SOS Fund assistance have included computer repairs and emergency replacements, car expenses, medical fees, and unexpected living expenses among others.
- The SPARC Fund (Subsidy Providing Assistance with Recurring Costs) was established in 2020 to provide grants to Mitchell Scholars who face a financial hardship while enrolled in college. We know that some recurring costs can create challenges for a Scholar without a financial safety net, and that if left unfunded, these financial hurdles may potentially prevent college completion. The SPARC Fund is meant to help Scholars manage these recurring costs, and prevent them from becoming hardships, so that Scholars can successfully complete their degrees.
- SPARC Fund assistance is granted on a case-by-case basis through consultation with Mitchell Institute staff members. Priority is given to Scholars who are Pell Grant-eligible. Please contact a member of our team to start the process of being considered for this resource.
- Examples of previous SPARC Fund assistance have included transportations costs; living expenses not billed by your college or university that may result in food or housing insecurity; course-mandated technology, books, or equipment beyond what is included in your college college or university’s cost of attendance, among others.
Mitchell Institute Signature Events
The Mitchell Institute offers a variety of events that take place throughout the year. The Mitchell Institute is happy to cover the cost for Mitchell Scholars to attend, and we encourage you to keep an eye on your email for event announcements and RSVP links since space is often limited.
Mitchell Institute Leadership Experience I (MILE I)
Mitchell Institute Leadership Experience II (MILE II)
This day-long professional and leadership development experience features engaging speakers, interactive workshops, fun icebreakers, and ample networking opportunities with employers and Mitchell Institute community members. This event is typically held in early March and is generously hosted by Unum in Portland.
Campus and regional connections
Campus receptions are typically hosted by Maine colleges and universities with larger cohorts of Mitchell Scholars to help facilitate introductions to key staff and faculty, other Mitchell Scholars on campus, and Mitchell Scholar Alumni in the area. For those who attend schools outside of Maine, we try to connect fellow Mitchell Scholars and Alumni by region, and to keep everyone updated on opportunities to meet with Institute staff if they travel to your area.
The annual Mitchell Institute Gala is a great opportunity for supporters and friends of the Institute to learn about our community. In addition to being the biggest fundraising event of the year, Gala offers premium networking access with a wide variety of top business and community leaders. A limited number of Mitchell Scholars (usually juniors and seniors) are invited to attend each year based specifically on academic and career interests that match up with those of guests expected to be in attendance. Please let us know if you are interested in attending Gala, and we will do our best to accommodate your request at some point during your college career. It also helps if you can keep us updated on any changes in your academic major(s) and minor/concentration(s).
Navigating Campus Resources
We work hard to collaborate with staff and faculty on your campus to provide personalized support and guidance for you. Names of departments may vary by school, but every campus is likely to have some form of support in the resources listed below. The more you keep us informed on your needs and concerns, the more we can guide you appropriately for assistance.
- Meet with professors after class and/or during posted office hours.
- Discuss issues and stay in touch with your academic advisor.
- Inquire about tutors and/or academic support centers.
- Talk with classmates about forming study groups.
- Use keyword searches to identify online resources both on your school’s web site and on the Internet in general.
- Visit your campus health center for medical and/or emotional support.
- Talk with residential life staff (junior advisors, residential advisors, etc.) to identify strategies for resolving conflicts.
- Make an appointment with someone in the Dean of Students office (or equivalent) to discuss high-level problems.
- Attend meetings or join student organizations to connect with others who have mutual interests or causes.
- Call anonymous hotlines to speak with trained counselors or advisors.
- Check in with a professor, teaching assistant, classmate, or friend with whom you feel comfortable discussing your experiences.
- Keep in touch with the Mitchell Institute about ongoing needs since there are members of the Institute community who are happy to help with specific areas of expertise.
- Visit your financial aid office to discuss specific issues and questions, especially if your financial circumstances change.
- Stay on top of student employment office updates for job leads, but also reach out directly to academic departments or offices on campus that interest you to inquire about employment opportunities (even if nothing is advertised!).
- Contact academic departments/Dean of Faculty, career development/services, advancement/fundraising and the community service/engagement offices to inquire about available stipends, fellowships, awards, scholarships and other resources to support research, internships, and/or study abroad programs. UMF Scholars: be sure to inquire about the special study abroad stipend for Mitchell Scholars! Thomas College supports Mitchell Scholar Alumni accepted into the Thomas College Accelerated MBA program by offering a special merit award and scholarship totaling $7500.
- Inquire through the Dean of Students and the student activities offices about funding and resources for transportation, extracurricular activities, and other non-academic endeavors.
- Identify and use financial resources such as Finance Authority of Maine, the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit, and Office of Federal Student Aid.
- Keep the Mitchell Fellowship Award program and Promise emergency fund in mind!
It is also important to keep in mind that on average, most people can expect to change career paths (not just jobs, but actual shifts to different fields of work) 5-7 times in their working lives. Career development is an ongoing and dynamic process that prepares you for the twists and turns ahead if you put time and effort into learning the basics. The sooner you get started in the process, the more prepared and confident you will feel in the networking process (just think of this as building relationships and exchanging information with others who have mutual interests!) and in your search for internships and jobs.
Wherever you are in your career development, we encourage you to take a proactive approach by tapping into the following resources over time (not all at once — it helps to pace yourself and use open windows of time wisely):
- Make an appointment with a career advisor at the career center on your campus to seek feedback on your resume, learn about your school’s career resources, to inquire about networking strategies and the best ways to find alumni who are willing to offer career advice and hire students, to seek advice on the internship and job search process, to learn about LinkedIn.com if you are not already using it (we post internship and job opportunities and various tips on the Mitchell Institute Scholars and Alumni LinkedIn group), and much more. Ask if your career center offers assessment tools such as the Strong Interest Inventory to help with identifying potential career preferences.
- Talk with your professors (see if they have office hours during which you can visit) and older classmates in your academic department. You will learn a lot about different pathways, resources, and employer leads within various fields of work.
- Try to join campus clubs/organizations that are related to your career interests, and work your way up to a leadership role.
- Look for a campus job in a department or office to build relevant experience (reach out directly to a hiring manager even if a position is not posted through the student employment office).
- Volunteer your time with organizations off-campus that focus on missions that are important to you. Not only will you gain valuable experience to reinforce or rule out career preferences, but you can also add this to your resume. You may also land a job offer for the future!
- Consider setting up job shadows and informational interviews with employers near campus. Ask your career advisor about tips and local leads. Over school vacations, use some of your free time to request these opportunities with people in your networks back home (parents and older siblings of friends, mentors, former supervisors, etc.).
- Build and maintain a list of employers and organizations that interest you, whether they are in Maine or elsewhere. Share this list with key people in your networks (including Mitchell Institute staff) so that people can introduce you to contacts and brainstorm ideas to expand your list.
- Use O*NET OnLine to explore ideas for occupations as well as detailed information on required skills and education, salary ranges, projected job growth, etc.
- Check out Vault.com as a go-to resource for many career fields, and be sure to explore Live + Work in Maine for a wide range of opportunities in your home state!
- Attend as many Institute events as possible, and apply for Mitchell Fellowship Awards to support your personal and professional development.
- After going through the basics with your campus career center, contact Mitchell Institute staff as questions come up about your career exploration. Please also share good news about internships and jobs that you land. Not only do we want to celebrate with you, but we also would love to facilitate future employer connections for other Mitchell Scholars and Alumni who have shared interests!
Additional Resources for Support
Beyond what is provided by your college or university, there are a number of resources that you can use at any time provided by the state or other organizations. Though most of these resources are Maine-centric, every U.S. state is likely to have some form of support similar to those listed below. As always, please reach out to us if you are confused or are having any trouble navigating these resources, and we will work to direct you effectively and comprehensively to what you need.
- If you are in need of urgent support and unsure of where to go, dial 2-1-1. 2-1-1 is a special abbreviated telephone number reserved in Canada and the United States as an easy-to-remember three-digit telephone number meant to provide information and referrals to health, human and social service organizations.
- The Maine state government website has a list of resource hotlines available.
Health and Healthcare
- NAMI Maine: NAMI Maine provides support, education, and advocacy committed to the issue of mental illness.
- MaineCare provides low-cost and free health insurance to Mainers who meet certain requirements, usually based on household income. If you are already on MaineCare and have questions, you can use the above link to access portals and help desks.
Finances, Housing, and Food
- The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) offers online and webinar resources to help you decipher financial aid, make a budget, and address student loan debt.
- The Maine State Housing Authority offers a variety of resources and programs: everything from home energy assistance to information on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to listings on subsidized housing by county.
- Affordable Colleges Online offers a helpful tool to find a food pantry near you. Your college/university may have a food pantry on campus—usually these are available for all students or community members with an appropriate campus ID.