MI icon Alumni Council

In 2005, nine former recipients of the Mitchell Scholarship came together to form the Alumni Council — a body of Mitchell Scholar Alumni that works to provide resources to Mitchell Institute Alumni and current Mitchell Scholars. The Council continues to support the work of the Institute, its programs, and its fundraising efforts.


Jess Watson

Alumni Council President Jessica Watson is the 2003 Mitchell Scholar from Mt. Ararat High School and earned degrees in Business Administration from USM and International Studies from Northeastern. She currently works as a Export Compliance Administrator at Bath Iron Works and was previously employed by the Maine Technology Institute. Jessica is also a volunteer for Family Crisis Services, the domestic violence resource center for Cumberland County. “Being a Mitchell Scholar has opened many doors for me since 2003. As a fifth-generation Mainer, I am proud to be part of an organization that does so much to help Maine students achieve their educational goals.”

Vice President

Alumni Council Vice President Paul Suitter grew up in Oakfield, Maine and is the 2005 Mitchell Scholar from Southern Aroostook Community High School. He graduated from Bates College with a Political Science major and a secondary concentration in History. After college, Paul spent three years teaching middle school science in Revere, Massachusetts as part of Teach for America.  In 2015 he graduated from Harvard Law School, where he served as Chapter President of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. Paul then returned home to Maine for two years to work as a judicial law clerk for the Hon. Brock Hornby on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine and for the Hon. Kermit V. Lipez on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Paul currently works as a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. “I am incredibly grateful to the Mitchell Institute and its staff for providing me career exploration opportunities–both in college and beyond–that simply would not have been available to me on my own, and I am excited to help pay it forward as a member of the Alumni Council.”

Alumni council members

Bethany Schulberg is the 2013 Oceanside High School Mitchell Scholar, from the mid-coast town of Thomaston.  She graduated in 2017 from the University of Maine with a degree in bioengineering.  As an undergraduate student, Bethany was highly involved with the Mitchell Institute and served as a campus ambassador.  Alongside her involvement with the Mitchell campus group, she partook in the dance showcases, worked in the research labs, and helped with the residence life department in Orono.  Presently, Bethany has uprooted her life from mid-coast Maine to the Charlotte, North Carolina area to pursue her career in the abundant pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry that North Carolina has to offer.  “I am looking forward to my involvement with the Alumni Council to continue helping the scholars and to give back to the group that shaped my college career (and beyond)!  I feel lucky to be a part of a group that shows unconditional support to each and every individual involved, and I am honored to be able to pay forward the support I received to the current scholars as they blaze their own paths.”

bradyBrady Davis is the 2013 Mitchell Scholar from Freeport, ME and a 2017 graduate of the University of Maine in Orono. At UMaine, he was enrolled in the Honors College and studied Business Management and Sustainable Food Systems. On campus Brady was involved with the UMaine Mitchell Scholar Group and became a Student Ambassador to the Mitchell Institute in his final two years. As a member of the Alumni Council, he hopes to be able to further serve the Scholar community by increasing the opportunities for engagement and support amongst campus Scholar groups.

Denise Desrochers is the 1999 Mitchell Scholar from Thornton Academy in Saco. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Classical Voice Performance from University of Southern Maine, and a master’s degree in Translation Studies from University of Portsmouth, UK. After completing her undergraduate degree, Denise moved to Naples, Italy, where she lived and worked for 11 years as an ESL Teacher and a Translator. Since repatriation in 2015, Denise has enjoyed working with other scholarship recipients in the Exchange Foundations Department at CIEE in Portland, Maine. She volunteers her time on the Design and Organization Committees with Heart of Biddeford, as well as for Engine: Propelling the Creative Community. “I am thrilled to dedicate my energy and talents to an organization which has had a proven impact in my life and my community. I believe that the Mitchell Institute has greatly contributed to a growing education culture among Maine learners, and that its Alumni can also have a critical role in fostering this positive trend. I look forward to working with members of the Mitchell community, to ensure that the Institute continues to thrive and expand the horizons of its recipients.”

Elek HeadshotElek Pew is the 2011 Mitchell Scholar from Telstar Regional High School. He grew up in the small town of Andover, and graduated from The University of Maine in 2015 obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Business Management, summa cum laude. While at UMaine, Elek was a member of the Senior Skulls Society and a brother of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He remains involved in the UMaine community serving as the Vice President his fraternity’s Alumni Association. Elek currently works at Unum, a Fortune 500 insurance company, in Portland, ME in their Professional Development Program, a 4 year rotational program designed to give associates broad exposure across multiple business functions. “As a fiercely proud Mainer, I am excited to partner with the Mitchell Institute in its effort to increase the likelihood that students from all communities across Maine have the opportunity to pursue and obtain a college education.”

Elliott Simpson is the 2014 Mitchell Scholar from Hampden Academy. He double-majored in Finance and Accounting at the University of Maine, and earned his degree in 2018. During his time as an undergraduate student, Elliott was the Business Manager of the University of Maine newspaper, a brother of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, and a member of the Senior Skull Society. He is currently a Consultant at BerryDunn in Portland, Maine, where he works in their Government Consulting Group, serving governmental and quasi-governmental clients across the US. As a member of the Alumni Council he hopes to help Scholars succeed in their ambitious goals, and assist the Mitchell Institute in the long-term initiatives that provide the benefits that make the Mitchell Scholarship “more than a scholarship.” Elliott is firm believer in the strength of the Mitchell Institute community and is excited to work with fellow Scholars and Alumni through the Mitchell Institute Alumni Council.

Hannah Goodwin is the 2008 Mitchell Scholar from Medomak Valley High School. She graduated from Colby College in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology and French Studies. She has worked as a teacher in French Guiana and in Boston and currently lives in New York City where she works as the Outreach and Operations Manager at the Feminist Press, a nonprofit publisher. Hannah also volunteers as facilitator and coordinator for GenSexNYC, an anti-oppression gender and sexuality workshop for all identities.

Kate Durost is the 2003 Mitchell Scholar from George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill. She graduated in 2007 from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and a minor in Spanish. After travelling to Honduras for a service-learning class, Kate decided a career in environmental law would allow her to combine her passion for the environment and desire to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. After moving to Florida to escape the harsh Maine winters, Kate obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, focusing on international and comparative politics, with a minor in Latin American studies from the University of Central Florida. While earning her JD and a certificate in international and comparative law at Vermont Law School in tiny South Royalton, VT, Kate was an Articles Editor on the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law and completed internships with Greenpeace East Asia in Beijing, China and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee. Kate is a member of the Washington, D.C., Bar and is currently the Intern and Research Coordinator for Senator Angus S. King, Jr. in Washington, D.C. She is excited to be a part of the Mitchell Institute Alumni Council and is looking forward to the opportunity to give back to the organization that has played such an important part in shaping her life for the last fifteen years.

Leo Wing is the 2015 Mitchell Scholar from Cape Elizabeth High School. He graduated from Northwestern University in 2019 with a double-major in Economics and English Literature and a minor in Business Institutions. During his time at Northwestern, he was involved with A&O Productions, the campus event planning board, served as a tour guide, and volunteered with AMASE, an organization that teaches children with disabilities how to play musical instruments. Leo currently works as an Associate at L.E.K. Consulting in Chicago, Illinois, helping to advise companies, investors, and nonprofits on business strategy.

Luis Rovayo is the 2011 Mitchell Scholar from Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine. Luis was born in Venezuela and moved to the great state of Maine in 1999. A first-generation college graduate, he attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. While at WPI, Luis served as a campus tour guide and was a brother of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity. Luis currently works for Integer, a medical device company, as an engineer in their Rotational Development Program and has spent the past 2 years traveling and working in various cities across the country. “I am proud to be part of the Mitchell family and I look forward to contributing as part of the Alumni Council. I hope to help future Scholars obtain a college education and make an impact across Maine communities for years to come.”

Michelle Henaire is the 2012 Mitchell Scholar from Thornton Academy and a 2015 graduate from the University of Maine at Farmington, graduating Manga Cum Laude with a degree in Social Studies Secondary Education. She is the first person in her family to go to college. She currently works as a Customer Care Representative at Kennebunk Savings Bank, where she is known as a volunteer superstar, putting in over 50 hours of volunteer work each year. “The Mitchell Institute has provided me with invaluable help throughout my college years and beyond. From helping me to improve a resume to encouraging me to apply for an opportunity that seemed way out of reach, I would not be where I am today without the Mitchell Institute’s support. I hope to give back to the family who has given me so much, and being on the Alumni Council will help me do just that.”

Nicole Derr is the 2000 Mitchell Scholar from Thornton Academy. She then attended Bowdoin College, graduating in 2004 with a major in English and a teaching certificate in Language Arts, having completed her student teaching at Mt. Ararat High School in 2004. After college, she taught at both public and private schools in New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Massachusetts before returning to her home state. Upon moving back to Maine, she turned her photography hobby into a full-time business called NMD Photography, shooting weddings, families, and newborns. Recently, she has launched a new project: women’s creative wellness retreats called In Thrival Mode; these retreats bring together a professional artist, a chef, and a wellness practitioner to create a recharging weekend for women. She currently lives in South Berwick with her husband, her two daughters, and her dog where she enjoys running marathons, SUP boarding, and exploring nature.

2016 Sibley HeadshotSean Sibley is the 2010 Mitchell Scholar from Mattanawcook Academy and a graduate from the University of Maine, where he earned an undergraduate degree in Nursing and Theatre as well as a Masters of Science in Nursing. He works as a Family Nurse Practitioner at Cutler Health Center providing primary care services to students and staff of the UMaine community. He remains involved in the campus community serving as advisor to his fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega, and the Senior Skull Honor Society. Sean has earned the title of Career Specialist and previously worked in the UMaine Career Center.  These career development skills are ones he brings to other Mitchell Scholars with his service on the Council. As a proud first-generation college graduate, Sean is adrenalized to give back to the Mitchell Institute, which helped to make a higher education more obtainable for himself and many others.

Sierra Kuun is the 2013 Mitchell Scholar from Kennebunk High School. She graduated from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, magna cum laude. As an undergraduate student, she was enrolled in the Honors College, worked at the Mitchell Institute for Sustainability Solutions, and was involved with the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Sierra currently works for Enterprise Engineering, Inc., located in Falmouth, Maine. As a member of the Alumni Council, she looks forward to helping the Mitchell Institute improve educational opportunities for Maine students.

Taylor headshot

Taylor McCafferty is the 2011 Mitchell Scholar from Schenck High School and a 2015 graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington. With the career goal of publishing in mind, Taylor majored in English at UMF, studied writing and design, and held internships at Alice James Books and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. After graduation, she took a summer internship at Islandport Press in Yarmouth, which then turned into her current full-time position as Sales & Marketing Assistant. A lifelong Mainer, Taylor loves working in a place that values the same passions that she holds dear: the power of the written word and her home state of Maine. “The Mitchell Institute’s firm belief in my success gave me a renewed inspiration to continue pursuing my dreams. Without their encouraging words and helping hands, happiness would have been much harder to reach.”