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Alexandra Bennion is one of 12 Americans awarded the scholarship

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University senior Alexandra Bennion of Tampa, Florida, is one of 12 Americans selected this weekend to receive the George J. Mitchell Scholarship for a year of graduate study in Ireland.

This year, 306 students applied for the scholarship, named in honor of Sen. George Mitchell’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership, and service.

A Nakayama Public Service Scholar, Bennion is a prolific researcher in the field of cancer biology. As a SPIRE Fellow, which supports underrepresented students pursuing degrees in the STEM fields, Bennion will graduate this spring with a degree in biology.

She studies inflammatory breast cancer -- a rare and aggressive cancer -- in the Devi Lab in the Duke School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. She is working on her senior thesis, which investigates ways to enhance immune responses to chemotherapeutics.

“I am delighted to congratulate Alexandra Bennion on receiving the Mitchell Scholarship, the culmination of her extraordinary accomplishments as an undergraduate,” said Duke University President Vincent E. Price. “I wish her well as she pursues a master’s degree in translational oncology at Trinity College Dublin, and I am excited about what lies ahead for her very bright future.”

Bennion has supported research projects at an impressive nine different labs and clinics, and has co-authored papers and presented at numerous professional conferences alongside leaders in the field.

She has conducted research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a 2020 American Physician Scientists Association Summer Scholar, and was selected as a 2020 Scholar in Marine Medicine. Bennion has participated in Bass Connections and DukeEngage, and is a co-founder of Duke Clever Endeavor, a mentorship program for fourth- and fifth-grade students in Durham and Chapel Hill.

She will pursue a master’s degree in translational oncology at Trinity College of Dublin. Bennion then plans to earn an MD/Ph.D. and embark on a career as a physician-scientist, conducting cancer research.

“I am so honored and humbled to have been chosen for the Mitchell Scholarship, and I look forward to taking this next step in studying global cancer research and care,” she said.  “This opportunity would not have been possible without the support of the Duke community. I am incredibly thankful to all of my professors, mentors, peers and all who have guided me throughout my college years.” 

Bennion will begin her studies in Ireland in September 2023.

For more information, visit the George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program website.