Gillings School alumna selected as Mitchell Scholar

November 20, 2017

Shauna Rust

Shauna Rust

Shauna Rust, BSPH, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health alumna, has been named a recipient of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship,  which supports graduate studies in Ireland.

Rust graduated with highest honors in health policy and management in 2016 and is now a public health analyst in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

She was one of 12 in the U.S. selected Nov. 18 for the award, which provides tuition, accommodations, a living expenses stipend and an international travel stipend for one year. She and a current UNC-Chapel Hill student, also selected this year, are UNC’s sixth and seventh Mitchell Scholars since the program began in 2001.

“It is incredibly humbling to be selected as a Mitchell Scholar, and I am so grateful to my mentors at UNC, especially in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, who have been tremendous supporters of my career in health policy and public health,” said Rust. “I am excited to study how Ireland is reforming their health-care system and to bring these lessons back with me, as I seek to make a difference in the U.S. health system throughout my career.”

While at UNC, Rust was an Honors Carolina student and a Buckley Public Service Scholar for her commitment to public service. She served as co-president of the Campus Y and co-chaired Tar Heel TABLE, which hosts food drives to alleviate child hunger.

In her senior year, Rust was chosen as the 2015-2016 Roosevelt Institute Emerging Fellow for Health Care, the highest-ranking national health policy fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, representing thousands of undergraduate students involved in this movement through white papers and editorials, including one in The New York Times. She also completed an honors thesis about the implications of tobacco marketing.

Rust plans to pursue a master’s degree in health policy at University College Dublin in Ireland. She ultimately wants to be at the forefront of creating a healthier U.S., whether as an elected official or a public servant.

“The Mitchell committee foresees that Shauna will be in an excellent position to shape public health policy in the U.S. in the coming decades,” said Inger Brodey, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “A Mitchell Scholarship will enable her to do so from a perspective enriched by experience of public health policy in Ireland as well as the U.S.”

The nationwide competition attracted 326 applicants for 12 Mitchell Scholarships. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service and spend a year of post-graduate study at institutions of higher learning in Ireland.

The Mitchell Scholarship program is administered by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. It also is funded by corporate, government and private entities and by the participating Irish universities. The program honors former U.S. Senate Majority leader George J. Mitchell for his leadership.


Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or

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