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University of Minnesota senior  Zachery Coelius.

Zachery Coelius, copresident of the University's Parliamentary Debate Society and founder of Votes for Students, is off to Ireland for a year of study.

Learning from the Irish

by University News Service

From eNews, February 19, 2004

University of Minnesota senior Zachery Coelius is off to Limerick, Ireland. Coelius and 11 other students--selected from a pool of 245 nationwide--are recent recipients of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship that supports a year of study in this land of Ulysses author James Joyce and U2's Bono. The scholarship, launched in 1998, honors American students who exhibit high standards of academic excellence, leadership, and community service. It's administered by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., and named after the former U.S. senator who played a pivotal role in the Northern Ireland peace process. Coelius, a College of Liberal Arts honors student majoring in political science and history, will pursue a master's degree in international studies at the University of Limerick in the southern region of Ireland. "It is going to be an amazing opportunity to look at the world from a perspective that is very different than what I have spent the last four years doing," says Coelius. "Hopefully, by seeing how another people deal with the questions of citizenship, democracy, and collective action, I will be able to do better work." Coelius, who aspires to be a political science professor, is copresident of the University's Parliamentary Debate Society and founder of Votes for Students (VFS). The latter nonpartisan group uses e-mail and the Internet to encourage voting and civic participation among college students. In fall 2002, Coelius and his VFS colleagues e-mailed more than 500,000 students in 10 states, and subsequently won a $100,000 grant from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement in Maryland to use the VFS data to study why young people don't vote. Also this year, Coelius was selected by USA Today for its All-USA College Academic Team.

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