MI icon Alumni Council

In 2005, nine former recipients of the Mitchell Scholarship came together to form the Alumni Council — a body of Mitchell Scholar Alumni that works to provide resources to Mitchell Institute Alumni and current Mitchell Scholars. The Council continues to support the work of the Institute, its programs, and its fundraising efforts.


Alumni Council President Elliott Simpson is the 2014 Mitchell Scholar from Hampden Academy. He double-majored in Finance and Accounting at the University of Maine, and earned his degree in 2018. During his time as an undergraduate student, Elliott was the Business Manager of the University of Maine newspaper, a brother of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, and a member of the Senior Skull Society. He is currently a Consultant at BerryDunn in Portland, Maine, where he works in their Government Consulting Group, serving governmental and quasi-governmental clients across the US. As a member of the Alumni Council he hopes to help Scholars succeed in their ambitious goals, and assist the Mitchell Institute in the long-term initiatives that provide the benefits that make the Mitchell Scholarship “more than a scholarship.” Elliott is firm believer in the strength of the Mitchell Institute community and is excited to work with fellow Scholars and Alumni through the Mitchell Institute Alumni Council.

Vice President

Alumni Council Vice President Andy Estrada is the 2008 Mitchell Scholar from Hall-Dale High School. He graduated from Colby College in 2012 with a degree in government and religious studies. Andy serves as a Communications Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, where he develops communications strategy for foundation leadership and engages with journalists on the foundation’s charitable efforts. Before joining the foundation in 2017, Andy spent his early professional career working in an array of government and political campaign roles. He served as North Carolina Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and Deputy Press Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Obama Administration. Andy has also held positions with The White House, House Democratic Caucus, 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee, and 2012 Obama for America presidential campaign. He remains a passionate advocate of all things Maine and enjoys running, reading, and traveling to new places. “The Mitchell Institute had such a profound impact on my early professional life and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to give back. I’m excited to partner with Mitchell Institute staff and fellow Alumni Council members to expand professional development opportunities for current Scholars and strengthen the Institute’s alumni network.”

Alumni Council members

Adam Fortier-Brown is the 2015 Mitchell Scholar from Gardiner Area High School and the 2018 Jack and Charlie Canning Pioneer Scholar. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maine in 2019 with a B.S. in Economics and Political Science. As an undergraduate student, he was awarded a University of Maine Congressional internship in U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ office in Washington, D.C., and was the University of Maine’s first undergraduate intern for former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen’s global consulting firm, The Cohen Group. In his junior year, Fortier-Brown was named the 2017 George Mitchell Peace Scholar, a competitive program selecting one student across the University of Maine System based on demonstrated community service, leadership, and academic achievement to study abroad in University College Cork, Ireland. He spent his early professional career working in multiple different policy roles in Washington, D.C., including managing the policy efforts of an outdoor recreation trade association, for which he helped pass the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020, the largest U.S. conservation package in generations. He also worked for Deloitte & Touche LLP, a top consulting firm, where he advised senior civilian and military leadership on risk management, energy, communications, and climate resilience. Fortier-Brown is now back home in Maine, pursuing a J.D. at the University of Maine School of Law and enjoying the state’s beautiful wild spaces, coastline, and food scene. He looks forward to contributing to this organization’s continued success and providing new professional development and educational opportunities for all Mitchell Scholars.

Caleb Cullen is the 2015 Mitchell Scholar from Katahdin Middle High School. He grew up in Patten and graduated from Northern Maine Community College in 2017 with an Associate’s Degree in Emergency Medical Services. Caleb furthered his education at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, graduating in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While attending college, Caleb volunteered for his hometown as a firefighter and spearheaded a community smoke detector installation program with the American Red Cross that resulted in over 100 local homes being properly outfitted with high-quality smoke detectors. After graduating from UMFK, Caleb moved to Hampden and began his nursing career at Eastern Maine Medical Center. After a brief stint of travel nursing out of state, Caleb has returned to the Bangor area and presently works full-time for Northern Light Medical Transport as a Team Leader and Paramedic. He continues to work per-diem as an Emergency Department Registered Nurse at Waldo County General Hospital. In his spare time, he enjoys being outdoors in nature, spending time with family and friends, and traveling to new areas. Realizing how impactful the Mitchell Institute was in encouraging him to broaden horizons and step outside of his comfort zone, Caleb is grateful to have the opportunity to help support and further the mission of the Mitchell Institute for current and future scholars and alumni.

Frankie Pappalardo is the 2014 Mitchell Scholar from Gorham High School. He grew up in Gorham, and graduated from Bowdoin College in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Romance Languages and Literatures. While at Bowdoin, Frankie captained the Bowdoin Rugby Football Club and served as the campus ambassador for Bowdoin’s chapter of Mitchell Scholars. In his junior year, Frankie spent a semester in Bologna, Italy as part of an immersive Italian language program. Upon graduating, Frankie spent his a year with the Beacon Group, a strategy consulting firm in Portland. In the following two years, Frankie worked for the system development team at MaineHealth, where he supported the health system’s leadership with strategic projects across its 10 hospitals. Today Frankie is a MD Candidate at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, kayaking, and live music. Frankie is grateful for the unwavering support he has received from the Mitchell Institute, and hopes to help the Mitchell Institute continue to fulfill its mission.

Hunter Steele, the 2019 Mitchell Scholar from Lewiston High School, graduated from Bowdoin College in 2023 with a double major in economics and religion and a minor in classics. At Bowdoin, he served as the Mitchell Institute campus ambassador, was president of the mock trial team, and played goalie for the men’s lacrosse team. He also interned for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugee, and Migration and for U.S. Senator Susan Collins. Steele currently serves as an analyst for OGx Consulting out of Centennial, Colorado, a diverse-owned management and technology consulting firm focused on strategy, transformation, and technology. He recollects how, in his first year, a member of the Mitchell Institute had to push him out of his comfort zone and what a large impact that had on his life. He hopes to be able to help more scholars feel confident in stepping out of their comfort zone with the support of the Mitchell Institute behind them.

Kayla Girardin is the 2013 Mitchell Scholar from Presque Isle High School. She graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2017 with a degree in Secondary Education and Mathematics and a minor in Special Education. As a student, she was involved with the UMF Mitchell Scholars, a member of the cross-country and track and field teams, active in the dance club, and spent time abroad in South Korea. Since graduating, Kayla has taught 7th and 8th grade math at Mt. Blue Middle School and spends her summers working for the UMF Upward Bound program. She is thrilled to give back to the organization that encouraged and supported her educational, professional, and personal endeavors as a member of the Mitchell Institute Alumni Council.

Lauren Turcotte Seavey, the 2019 Mitchell Scholar from Bangor High School, graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in sociology and double minors in Marketing and Graphic Design in 2023. As an undergraduate, she was highly involved with the Mitchell Institute, attending MILE I and MILE II several times and serving as a campus ambassador. In her senior year, Seavey spent her final semester working with the University of Maine Foundation as the Senior Giving Campaign Manager, encouraging seniors to begin their philanthropic efforts for the university by making a small donation before graduating. She is now pursuing her Master of Science in Project Management and Data Analytics at The Roux Institute at Northeastern University. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, making ceramics, and walking the beaches of Maine to collect sea glass.

Molly Foley is the 2015 Mitchell Scholar from Greenville High School. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a minor in Government and Legal Studies. While at Bowdoin, Molly was on the varsity swim team and played club water polo. She also served as the campus ambassador for Bowdoin’s chapter of Mitchell Scholars. After graduating, Molly moved to NYC, where she worked at UBS Investment Bank for two years, executing private equity-focused transactions. She later transitioned to a corporate finance role at Yext, an NYC-based software company. Most recently in early 2022, Molly moved to Austin, Texas, where she is currently focused on merger and acquisition analysis as well as operational projects at Quest Software. In her free time, she enjoys running along the river trail, discovering new coffee shops, and generally avoiding the northeast winters. Molly is excited to give back to the organization that was so impactful during her college years, and to also work with fellow Council members on continuing to expand all that the Mitchell Institute has to offer.

Nancy Billings is the 2015 Mitchell Scholar from Lincoln Academy, and a 2019 graduate from Wesleyan University, where she majored in American Studies and Hispanic Studies. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and works for Senator Angus King as a Legislative Correspondent covering the Homeland Security/Immigration and Tech/Telecom portfolios. As a first-generation college student, the Mitchell Institute provided her invaluable professional, personal, and academic support. One of the most impactful resources was the meaningful connections developed with staff, current scholars, and alumni. In joining the Alumni Council, Nancy looks forward to finding creative ways to assist this organization in supporting upcoming scholars and growing the Mitchell Institute community.

Paige Shortsleeves is the 2013 Mitchell Scholar from Sacopee Valley High School. She grew up in Parsonsfield, and graduated from Colby College in 2017 with Bachelor’s Degrees in Sociology and Biology. While at Colby, Paige ran the Alternative Spring Break Program and worked as a site director for Let’s Get Ready. After graduating, Paige was selected as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow. During her time as a fellow, she completed field work at the Treasure Coast Food Bank in Fort Pierce, Florida, and completed her policy placement at the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, DC. Today, Paige lives in West Palm Beach, Florida and is the executive director at PEACE, a non-profit that uses the power of people to create local systemic change. Paige is excited to be part of the Alumni Council and to give back to the organization that supported her throughout her college journey and beyond.

Sadie Libby is the 2017 Mitchell Scholar from Skowhegan Area High School and a graduate of the University of Maine, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and served in the University Ambulance Corps. A year after graduating from UMaine, she pursued an associate’s in nursing at Kennebec Valley Community College and soon after began work as a nurse at Maine Veterans’ Home in Augusta, primarily caring for patients on the memory care unit. Recently, she accepted a position at Lincoln Medical Partners as a triage nurse and is now working on her B.S.N. through the University of Maine at Fort Kent. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her corgi, Hiro, and her fiancé, Nico, exploring new towns and restaurants in Maine and making day trips to Portland’s dog-friendly East End Beach.

Sierra Kuun is the 2013 Mitchell Scholar from Kennebunk High School. She graduated from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, magna cum laude. As an undergraduate student, she was enrolled in the Honors College, worked at the Mitchell Institute for Sustainability Solutions, and was involved with the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Sierra currently works for Enterprise Engineering, Inc., located in Falmouth, Maine. As a member of the Alumni Council, she looks forward to helping the Mitchell Institute improve educational opportunities for Maine students.

Trevor Lyford is the 2014 Mitchell Scholar from Penquis Valley High School. Originally from LaGrange, Maine, he graduated from Brown University in 2018 with an Honors Degree in Public Health and went on to obtain a Master’s in Public Health from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Perhaps best known for his high school athletic accomplishments, he continued his love for athletics in college and was named a Second Team All-American in Club Basketball. Presently, Trevor is living in Norfolk, Virginia, as an MD Candidate at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he founded a First-Generation / Low-Income Student Association while serving as the Rural Health Club President and the National Health Policy Chair for the American Medical Student Association. He remains a steadfast promoter of all things Maine and enjoys spending time with his wife and two dogs, exploring local breweries, traveling, and the occasional red hot dog. “The Mitchell Institute has given me unwavering support throughout my personal and professional journey. This community has such an authentic, genuine, and infectious interest in the success of Maine graduates. The absolute least I can do is get involved with the Alumni Council and contribute to the wonderful work being done every day for Maine students!”