News icon Case Named Scholar Research and Grants Manager at the Mitchell Institute

PORTLAND, Maine — Jared Cash, President and CEO of the Mitchell Institute, announced today that Kristen Case will join Maine’s premier scholarship organization as Scholar Research and Grants Manager on April 1. Among her responsibilities, Case will research and analyze Mitchell Scholar outcomes and develop funding proposals for foundations that are aligned with the Mitchell Institute’s mission and work.

“Kristen’s impressive teaching, research, program development, and student advising experience in higher education make her an ideal candidate for this reimagined position at the Mitchell Institute,” Cash said. “I am confident that she will strengthen our longstanding tradition of measuring the many positive impacts of the Mitchell Scholarship and encourage foundations to invest in our vital mission.”

Case comes to the Mitchell Institute from the University of Maine at Farmington, where she was a full Professor of English, specializing in American Literature. At UMF, Case advised hundreds of undergraduates and provided intensive individual coaching for students applying to graduate school in English, creative writing, and related fields. Building on her first professional experiences as an elementary and middle-school classroom teacher, she emphasized the importance of expanding the aspirations of first-generation college students along with their intellectual development.

“My most meaningful experiences at UMF involved creating opportunities for students who are the first in their families to attend college and those facing financial hardships,” Case said.

In her 14 years at UMF, Case also co-directed the New Commons Project, a five-year public humanities initiative funded by a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Under Case’s leadership, the project invited citizens of Maine to nominate, by video submission, cultural works they deemed worthy of inclusion in a statewide “digital commons” of art, film, literature, and music.

More recently, Case founded and continues to co-direct the Monson Seminar, a three-week residential course for highly motivated Pell-eligible and first-generation college students pursuing creative and research-based projects. Held annually in early August, the Monson Seminar is offered through MonsonArts, an artist residency in Monson, Maine. Seminar students receive full-tuition fellowships and studio space to participate in an honors-level interdisciplinary course and work with an advisor on an independent creative project.

“My work in higher education has brought home to me both the uniquely transformational power of the college experience and the real obstacles confronting the students who have the most to gain from that experience,” Case said. “Education is an essential common good, and I am honored to be joining the Mitchell Institute in its mission to increase access to this resource for students from every community in Maine.”

Case earned a B.A. in English, Summa Cum Laude, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Columbia University; an M.S. in education from Bank Street College of Education; an M.F.A. in poetry from Brooklyn College; and a Ph.D. in English from The City University of New York. Her publications include the forthcoming book “Keeping Time: Henry David Thoreau’s Kalendar” (Milkweed Editions, 2025), the forthcoming poetry collection “Daphne” (Tupelo Press, 2025), the poetry collection “Principles of Economics” (Switchback Books, 2019), and the poetry collection “Little Arias” (New Issues Press, 2015).

During her tenure at UMF, Case received a highly selective Trustee Professorship. Established by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, the Trustee Professorship recognizes exemplary full-time faculty members and provides the opportunity and support for recipients to pursue continued in-depth scholarly work. Among her many honors for her scholarship and publications, Case received the Maine Literary Award for Poetry in 2016 and 2019. She also has delivered keynote lectures on Henry David Thoreau at the University of Le Mans, France, and Gothenburg University in Sweden.

As part of her portfolio at the Mitchell Institute, Case will provide coaching to Mitchell Scholars who are pursuing opportunities that call for compelling personal and professional narratives, public speaking, and strong application materials. She also will be available to advise Scholars interested in pursuing graduate study in the humanities and careers in academia.

“I look forward to contributing to the Institute’s ongoing efforts to assess and communicate the impact of Senator Mitchell’s extraordinary gift to Maine’s young people, and I am especially thrilled to have the chance to work directly with Mitchell Scholars as they shape their own futures,” she said.

About the Mitchell Institute

Founded by Senator George J. Mitchell, the Mitchell Institute’s core mission is to improve the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue, and achieve a college education. Through awarding $1.85 million in college scholarship funds to students from every community in Maine, the Mitchell Institute unlocks the potential of the state’s young people so that they can find success in college and contribute to the vitality of their communities. In addition to providing each Mitchell Scholar with a $10,000 scholarship, the Institute provides an array of support programs for leadership development and supplemental funding opportunities for activities related to career and professional development. This combination of personal, professional, and financial support makes college degrees more attainable for Mitchell Scholars, who graduate at a rate 30% higher than the national average and are more likely than their peers to work in Maine or return to the state after graduating from college.