The US-Ireland Alliance recently awarded a prestigious George J. Mitchell Scholarship to Tawreak “Ty” Gamble-Eddington of Springfield, a senior at Union College in Schenectady, New York. The scholarship will allow him to do a year of post-graduate study at Dublin’s Trinity College. Out of 453 applicants, only 12 were awarded scholarships.
“I was extremely ecstatic, especially since I got my first choice school (in Dublin),” Eddington-Gamble said about the award. “I was, simply put, on Cloud 9.”
Of African-American and Irish American parents, he is the son of Brandi Gamble and Joseph Eddington, both of Springfield. His great-grandmother’s roots go back to Limerick, Ireland. He will study Race, Ethnicity and Conflict at Trinity, but also hopes to continue researching his Irish ancestry.
After attending local Springfield schools through the eighth grade, he went to the MacDuffie School in Granby.
“My English teacher played an essential role in my development,” he said, “and was the first teacher to introduce me to the theme of Irish literature,” he said
But his biggest interest is in community organizing and activism. His resume is filled with positions of responsibility he’s held in the realm of community activism through both high school and college. These include president of the Black Student Union; Political Director of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts Black Caucus; founder of The Marginalized View, a student organization that connects disadvantaged communities with elected officials; President of Union Pride; and being part of the Schenectady chapter of former President Obama’s mentoring program called My Brother’s Keeper.
It started in the ninth grade when he became Youth Representative on the McKnight Neighborhood Council. He also worked on several local political campaigns and credits “amazing mentors and adults” for motivating him to get involved, including his parents, former City Councilor, Henry Twigs and current Councilor Jesse Lederman.
Another motivating factor was witnessing the “many problems (the opioid crisis, homelessness, poverty, etc.) that face the Springfield community and their impact on individuals’ well being. What keeps me involved is the change I am able to help foster,” he said.
He is most proud of his involvement in My Brother’s Keeper which he helped create in Schenectady.
“The program has been a huge success,” he said, “and as a founding mentor, I got to create some of the educational components and teach topics ranging from college, to scholarships, to the workforce.”
Another big success for him has been founding The Marginalized View. Its goal is to introduce the social sciences and humanities to marginalized youth and begin discussions about the often overlooked contributions of marginalized communities to American history.
“The project has been ongoing,” he said, “and has had great success this past fall.” He arranged for eight former members of Congress to discuss a series of topics ranging from police brutality and reform, to inclusion in politics, to career planning.
He will spend his year at Trinity College working on a master’s degree in Race, Conflict and Ethnicity. He’ll focus on comparing the experiences of asylum-seeking minors in Ireland to the asylum centers in Spain where he worked as an immigration intern during his college study abroad in Sevilla.
His long-term goal is to go to law school and specialize in International Law or Human Rights Law. “In five to ten years,” he said, “I see myself … advocating for marginalized communities in hopes of drafting laws or legislation that ensure equitable and equal access.”