When his Navy career is over, Jonathan Poole would like to serve the people of Maine — possibly as governor, or maybe even in the U.S. Senate.

But for now, the 2008 Yarmouth High School graduate is content to complete his studies at the U.S. Naval Academy before spending a year abroad.

Poole, 23, was enjoying an extended Thanksgiving weekend in Yarmouth at the home of his parents — Charlie and Elizabeth Poole — when he learned he had been chosen as just one of 12 George Mitchell Scholars for the year.

His selection means Poole will receive a full scholarship that will allow him to study international public policy and diplomacy at University College Cork, Ireland.

Being chosen from a pool of more than 300 applicants from across the country is an honor that Poole says means even more because the scholarship is named after one of his favorite statesmen – former Maine Sen. George Mitchell.

“I’ve never met Senator Mitchell but one day I would love to because I look up to him. What he did in Ireland was remarkable,” Poole said, referring to Mitchell’s role in peace negotiations there as U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.

For more than a decade, the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, based in Washington, D.C., and Dublin, Ireland, has awarded scholarships to deserving applicants. The scholarships are based on applicants’ record of academic distinction, leadership and service.

The alliance was founded in 1998. Its scholarship program allows future American leaders to pursue a year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Although the program was named after Mitchell, the former senator does not participate in choosing the scholars.

Poole will graduate in 2013 from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in applied mathematics. He has maintained a perfect grade point average during his time at the academy.

Poole currently serves as brigade commander for 4,400 midshipmen — the academy’s highest student leadership post.

In Poole’s profile, which was posted on the Alliance website, it says that “following his Navy service, he hopes to return to Maine and follow in the tradition of Joshua Chamberlain who, after leading the Union Army to victory during the (Civil War) battle of Gettysburg, went on to become governor of Maine.”

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com