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Maine’s premier scholarship organization has announced the election of three new members to its Board of Directors, including two Mitchell Scholars: Brian Harris ’07 (left), founder and CEO of MedRhythms, a Portland-based digital therapeutics company focused on the intersection of music, neuroscience and technology; Christina Marie Lemieux ’95 (center), planning director at the global advertising company Publicis Groupe; and Dr. Rebecca Wyke (right), CEO of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS).
Each new member has been elected to serve a three-year term on the Mitchell Institute’s Board of Directors, which supports the nonprofit organization’s mission to provide more than $1.4 million in scholarships and programming to Mitchell Scholars each year.
“Service on the Mitchell Institute’s Board of Directors continues to be a priority for leaders committed to ensuring that Maine students, regardless of their means, can keep higher education in their sights,” said Board Chair Sara Burns. “On behalf of the entire Board, I thank Becky, Brian, and Christina for joining us, and we look forward to working with them.”
As founder and CEO, Harris leads MedRhythms’ efforts to improve the lives of people with neurologic injury and disease by building neurotherapeutics that leverage the power of music and technology. A board-certified music therapist and one of 350 Neurologic Music Therapist Fellows worldwide, he created and implemented the first full-time, inpatient Neurologic Music Therapy program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, specializing in traumatic brain injury, stroke and neurologic disease. He co-founded the Arts & Neuroscience group at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and has been invited to speak on the efficacy of music therapy to numerous organizations and universities, including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Harvard Medical School, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, Stanford University, Berklee College of Music and the Neurology Foundation of India. Harris is listed as an inventor on several patents related to MedRhythms’ digital therapeutic platform, and he has been named to MedTech Boston’s 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators and one of World Biz Magazine’s Top 100 Innovation CEOs. Harris is the 2007 Mitchell Scholar from Penobscot High School in Howland and an engineering graduate of the University of Maine.
“I am truly honored to be joining the Board of the Mitchell Institute, an organization that makes such a profound difference in the lives of Maine students,” Harris said. “Not only was the support of the Mitchell Institute invaluable for me throughout my academic career, but the Institute’s impact is being felt in organizations and communities around the world through the thousands of students it has supported with scholarships and leadership training. It is an honor for me to support the organization’s ongoing mission to increase access to higher education.”
Lemieux grew up in Cutler, Maine, where five generations of her family have worked in the lobster industry. Throughout her youth, she spent her summers working as a sternman on her father’s boat, the “Christina Marie,” but aspired to attend a liberal arts college and work in the corporate world. The Mitchell Institute helped validate her aspirations in 1995 when she was named one of the first Mitchell Scholars upon graduating from Washington Academy. Lemieux went on to study English Literature and Psychology at Colby College, completing a semester abroad at Oxford University and graduating third in her class. After graduation, she built a career in branding and communications, living and working in San Francisco, New York City and London. Along the way she has developed brand-building strategies for global clients ranging from Intel, Jaguar and British Airways to Airbnb, Four Seasons Hotels and P&G. Lemieux continues to live and work in London with her British husband and three children, while remaining invested in her Maine heritage, including authoring “How to Catch a Lobster in Down East Maine,” (Charleston: The History Press, 2012), a book on the Maine lobster industry.
“Everyone deserves a fair shot in life and an opportunity to go as far as their hard work and talent can take them. For many hard-working Maine students however, advanced education can still feel out of reach. The Mitchell Institute understands this and provides so much more than just a scholarship,” Lemieux said. “Having grown up in Down East Maine, I was surrounded by people who aspired to be lobster fishermen. My brother even named his first full-sized boat “Aspiration.” I am extremely proud of my heritage and grateful that lobster fishing continues to be an industry so many people aspire to be part of, but I had different aspirations for my future. The Mitchell Institute didn’t just provide financial support, it helped me believe I could belong at a college like Colby, just as much as my brother belonged in the lobster industry.”
As CEO, Wyke leads MainePERS’ oversight of an $18 billion trust fund and the organization’s work to provide pension and other related benefits to more than 159,000 members, including public school teachers, state employees, and employees of more than 300 municipalities. Prior to joining MainePERS in 2021, she held executive roles within the University of Maine System, including Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and Treasurer to the Board of Trustees and President of the University of Maine at Augusta. Prior to joining the University of Maine System, Wyke served as the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services for nearly six years in Governor John Baldacci’s cabinet. Wyke also served in the administration of three Maine Secretaries of State and was the Chief Deputy Secretary of State for eight years. In 2020, Governor Janet Mills tapped Wyke to serve on the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee, formed in response to the pandemic. In addition to the Mitchell Institute, she serves on the Holocaust & Human Rights Center of Maine Board and the Maine Retirement Savings Board. Wyke received a Doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Maine.
“The Mitchell Institute provides a path to the future for Maine students by providing a substantial scholarship, critical wraparound programming and the support of a large alumni network,” Wyke said. “I am delighted to help guide this important ongoing work.”
About the Mitchell Institute
Founded by Senator George J. Mitchell, the Mitchell Institute aims to improve the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue, and achieve a college education. The organization annually provides more than $1.4 million in scholarships, additional fellowships and leadership development programming to college-going students from public high schools statewide. This combination of personal, professional and financial support makes college degrees more attainable for Mitchell Scholars, who graduate at a rate 30% higher than the national average. The Mitchell Institute’s investment in students also strengthens Maine communities as Mitchell Scholars are more likely than their peers to stay in Maine or return to the state after college. Learn more at mitchellinstitute.org.