Two Stanford seniors win Mitchell Scholarships

Mitchell Scholarships are awarded for one year of graduate study in any discipline at a university in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Two Stanford seniors – Ella Klahr Bunnell, an American Studies major, and Matthew Wigler, a political science major – have won Mitchell Scholarships for one year of graduate study at universities in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

They are among the 12 Americans named 2020 Mitchell Scholars by the US-Ireland Alliance, which named the scholarship in honor of former U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell’s contributions to the peace process in Northern Ireland. Mitchell Scholars are chosen for their scholarship, leadership and sustained commitment to community and public service.

Ella Klahr Bunnell

Ella Klahr Bunnell

Ella Klahr Bunnell (Image credit: Courtesy Ella Klahr Bunnell)

Ella Klahr Bunnell, 21, of Brookline, Massachusetts, is an honors student in American Studies and focuses on issues of justice, equity and conflict.

In her honors thesis, Bunnell is writing about American criminal disenfranchisement law, focusing on legal challenges to disenfranchisement and the country’s divergence from international norms and modern democratic practices since the 1970s.

As a Mitchell Scholar, Bunnell plans to pursue a master’s degree in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast, in Northern Ireland.

At Stanford, Bunnell has served as a research assistant to Susan Olzak, a professor of sociology, emerita, in her research on civilian oversight of police violence.

Through the Stanford in Washington program, Bunnell served as a full-time intern in the office of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) in fall 2017. She has served as a peer adviser for the program since 2018.

Her paper on W.E.B DuBois, “Who hath remembered me? Who hath forgotten?”: The reclamation of culture through melody in Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk,” was published in the Stanford Undergraduate Research Journal in the Spring 2017 issue.

At Stanford, she is a member of the university’s chapter of Challah for Hunger, a national student organization that bakes challah and donates the profits to social justice causes.

In Summer 2018, Bunnell served as an intern in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she researched voting procedures, and with the American Civil Liberties Union, where she conducted research on race and criminal justice. In addition, she interned with U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Massachusetts).

Matthew Wigler

Matthew, Wigler, 21, of Great Neck, N.Y., is a political science major who is earning a minor in history. He is a student in the Center for International Security and Cooperation Honors Program, where he is writing a thesis on political polarization and national security.

Matthew Wigler

Matthew Wigler (Image credit: Rod Searcey)

As a Mitchell Scholar, Wigler plans to pursue a master’s degree in international politics at Trinity College Dublin.

At Stanford, Wigler is an undergraduate student senator of the Associated Students of Stanford University and the vice president of Stanford Democrats, a student organization. He is active in Stanford’s Jewish community and is a member of Stanford’s Model United Nations team.

Last summer, Wigler launched a project to understand and combat political polarization, joining the leader of the College Republicans at the University of California-Davis, for a cross-country road trip. Wigler visited 14 split-ticket congressional districts and talked to more than 350 swing voters. His blog, Swing District, documented their travels and conversations.

Wigler interned with the U.S. State Department at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York in the summer of 2017. While there, Wigler worked with diplomats to expand the sanctions regime targeting North Korea through a U.N. Security Council resolution after the country launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. In September 2017, he interned in the executive office of Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, where he helped coordinate planning for the 2017 United Nations General Assembly.

Wigler is the author of “Charles Carroll of Carrollton and Revolutionary Religious Toleration: The Making of a Founder,” which was published in 2017 in both the national Journal of the American Revolution and in the Stanford Herodotus Journal, a student-run publication of the Department of History.

International scholarships

Stanford students interested in overseas scholarships and Stanford faculty interested in nominating students for such awards should contact Diane Murk, manager of the Overseas Resource Center at, or John Pearson, director emeritus of the Bechtel International Center, at