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Maine scholars learn about career, personal development at Unum

The George Mitchell Institute awards a $10,000 scholarship to one student from every Maine public high school once a year. The opportunities go beyond the money.

PORTLAND, Maine — A number of college students are more prepared to enter the real-life workforce because of an all-day event held at Unum in Portland. 

The 16th annual Mitchell Institute Leadership Experience II took place on Saturday. About 80 George Mitchell scholars and alumni joined together with professionals for things like keynote speeches, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities. 

Since its beginning, the program has seen about 1,200 Mitchell scholars come through it. Mitchell scholar alumni use their personal and career experience to connect with companies and recruit current scholars for internships and job opportunities out of college.

Every year, one Mitchell scholar is selected from each public high school in Maine. They are given a $10,000 scholarship and also get a life-long membership to the Mitchell Institute, with access to events like this.

Lauren Turcotte is a Mitchell scholar who is currently in her last semester at the University of Maine. She said meeting role models on Saturday was helpful. 

"Just opening up and getting to communicate with other people and different people and getting to see where other scholars have gone in their careers and hear their advice has been really beneficial," Turcotte said.

Brian Ishema is a sophomore at UMaine. He said networking was his favorite part of the event.

"This event has been great. I've met a lot of new people, and I've met a lot of people I haven't seen since high school. It's just a great way to create new relationships," Ishema said.

Unum has been a partner to the Mitchell Institute for more than 20 years and has funded $2 million in scholarships and career and leadership programming like MILE II. 

There's still time for Maine public high school seniors to apply for this year's round of scholarships. This year, an additional 20 scholarships statewide will be awarded. Click here to learn more.

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