2013 Truman Scholars
In 2013, the Truman Foundation selected 62 outstanding college students as Truman Scholars.
Jeanelle Achee (VT)
University of Vermont
Jeanelle majors in Nursing and intends to pursue a Master's Degree to become a Nurse Practitioner in Acute Care. She minors in Global Studies because she feels it creates a symbiotic relationship between technical care and cultural care. In her senior year of High School, Jeanelle became certified in the state of Vermont as a Crisis Worker. She volunteers on a hotline each week with a non-profit located in Burlington to provide direct services to rape victims and survivors.
Azeem Ahmed [AL]
Azeem Ahmed is a Finance and Economics double major with a passion for public health. He interned with the World Food Program in Egypt and conducted malnutrition research at theInternational Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh. He plans to work as a Foreign Service officer for USAID.
Andrew Amis [MS]
Andrew aspires to bridge the gap between technology and global affairs. He lived in a Tanzanian village, travelled to Qatar for roundtable talks on modern statecraft with Arab students, andspent a summer in Washington, D.C. to assemble a collaborative scientific workshop in Uzbekistan. Andrew taught an undergraduate course on global energy and led an engineering teamdesigning new microsatellite launch technology. Passionate about sub-Saharan Africa, he is the founder of TechLabs, a grant-winning NGO opening access to engineering for thousands of students in African schools. Andrew will pursue graduate education in engineering and global affairs to explore the nexus of technology, foreign policy, and capacity-building and serve as a civic engineer.
Jessica Anderson [IL]
Jessica studies African & African American Studies with Honors in Education. She plans to pursue a Master’s in Education Leadership with hopes of transforming the education system in the greater Chicago area. Jessica is also a singer and songwriter.
Zachary Avre [SD]
Zack is a Geography major with a minor in Political Science and a concentration in degree in urban planning and public policy, focusing on housing policy. In his spare time, he can be found on a bike or at a punk rock show in the Twin Cities.Urban Studies. At Macalester, he has been active in Macalester Democrats, the Bonner Community Scholars program, Student Government, and the Chuck Green Civic Engagement Fellowship. He plans to pursue a joint master's.
Simon Boehme [MI]
Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Simon is currently studying Industrial and Labor Relations with a minor in Law & Society and Education. He was a White House intern and has worked in Mysore, India on education policy. He also led his high school to win the first White House Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. Simon is passionate about creating opportunities for every child to succeed in school. He hopes to return to Michigan to make this a reality.
Rebecca Boslough [MT]
University of Montana
Rebecca studies natural resource conservation and climate change. She is an avid outdoorswoman and an active member of Montana’s conservation community, working on issues such as wilderness designation, climate change education, and public land management. Rebecca hopes to pursue a career in land and water management through a collaborative, community based approach. She is a member of Student Senate and a leader in the University of Montana Wilderness Association.
Briana Bowen [UT]
Utah State University
Briana Bowen studies political science and criminal justice. An encounter with cancer at the age of 19 compelled her to the field of public policy with a special interest in healthcare policy. Briana has staffed a political campaign, been involved with community advocacy for cancer research, and interned with a healthcare policy group in Washington, D.C. In her free time, Briana snowboards and plays the organ.
Jonathan Carral [NV]
University of Nevada- Reno
Jonathan Carral is an International Affairs major with minors in Spanish and Asian Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. He intends to get a Master’s Degree in International Affairs focusing on Development and NGO leadership. Having grown up in a Mexican-American household, Jonathan enjoys learning languages and understanding new cultures. He lived for three years in China both volunteering with a Christian non-profit organization to rehabilitate orphaned and vulnerable children, and studying the language and culture. Additionally, Jonathan has volunteered with other similar organizations in India and Mozambique. Ultimately, Jonathan aspires to start a non-profit based in the U.S. working to meet the needs of these highly marginalized members of society in developing nations around the world.
Benjamin Chin [NJ]
Benjamin John Chin, now 24 years old, has been in recovery from addiction since age 19. Ben was a resident and active member of the Rutgers Recovery House community in his time at Rutgers University. In addition, Ben served as a founder and leader within the YPR | Young People In Recovery organization which was established to mobilize the voice of young people in recovery from addiction.
Alexander Coccia [OH]
University of Notre Dame
Alex is a junior at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Africana Studies and Peace Studies. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Alex is a member of the 2011 National Championship fencing team. He has worked with progressive student groups and was recently elected Student Body president for the 2013-2014 term.
Nathan Coulter [AR]
University of Arkansas
Nathan, an economics and political science major, serves as director of National Student Advocacy for the Associated Student Government and vice-president of the Interfraternity Council. An active member of Young Democrats, he plans to pursue degrees in law and public service and eventually to seek elected office.
Ileana Cruz-Marden [PR]
University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras
Ileana is a senior at the University of Puerto Rico—Rio Piedras, where she majors in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations and Comparative Politics. She interned with the U.S. Senate and the Puerto Rican Senate, and has served as a volunteer and student collaborator with United Way Puerto Rico for the past seven years. She wishes to pursue a career as a policy practitioner in the field of international development.
Franklin Dakin [TN]
Franklin attends Rhodes College as a participant in the Bonner Scholar service program. He has served as an intern coordinator and program developer for BRIDGES, an organization that unites and inspires diverse young people to become confident and courageous leaders committed to community transformation. At 19, he was elected as the youngest alderman in Millington history and is the youngest current elected official in Tennessee.
Brandon DeBot [WI]
Brandon DeBot is a junior at Dartmouth College, where he majors in Government with a minor in Public Policy. At Dartmouth, Brandon competes on the Varsity Men’s Tennis Team works as a Presidential Scholar for the Government Department and as a researcher in the Policy Research Shop. He has interned at the White House National Economic Council and The Charles Group, LLC. Brandon hopes to pursue a career in federal fiscal policy after earning his JD/MPP.
Christina Economy [HI]
University of Pennsylvania
Christi majors in International Relations and Economics. Her passion is economic development, and she hopes to focus on education and literacy initiatives. Christi interns at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, has interned with the Center for Democracy in the Americas, interned at the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program as team lead for the Latin America project, and worked at the Center for Research on Women’s Health. Christi has completed a research project on the success of foreign aid to Bolivia and is writing her thesis on the universal abolishment of primary school fees. This summer Christi will be interning for the U.S. State Department at Embassy La Paz, Bolivia.
Bianca Fonseca Cervantes [AZ]
Bianca is a first generation student at Occidental College majoring in Urban and Environmental Policy. She has been active on and off campus with the hope to positively impact the lives of many people and to learn from every experience. Keeping in mind her belief that the places where people live matter, Bianca wants to learn about place-based strategies that can be used to improve communities. She hopes to one day run a community center in her own neighborhood.
Catherine Fontenot [LA]
Louisiana State University
Originally from Basile, Louisiana, Catherine grew up in a small town but has used her time at Louisiana State University to learn about cultures and people around the world. She researches primate genomes in Dr. Mark Batzer’s Laboratory of Comparative Genomics and studies poverty as a Louisiana Service and Leadership Scholar. Catherine volunteers at Volunteer Health Corps of Baton Rouge. She plans to earn an MD and MPH. Catherine will devote her career to improving health in under-resourced communities, increasing access to healthcare, and combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Smitha Ganeshan [GA]
University of Georgia
Smitha studies anthropology in the Honors Program at the University of Georgia. She aspires to be a physician policymaker. Through the Roosevelt Institute and as an intern for the Athens Health Network, Smitha developed and implemented a policy proposal to improve primary care services for the low-income patients she works with at the Athens Nurses Clinic. Smitha cofounded a nutrition education and health literacy program called Lunchbox Garden. Smitha has volunteered at the World Health Organization’s M.V. Hospital for Diabetes in Chennai, India; worked in mobile health clinics outside Managua, Nicaragua; and interned with the Greater New York Hospital Association in New York City.
Mariah Grubb [ID]
Mariah studies Anthropology and Psychology at Willamette University, and plans on obtaining a graduate degree in International Sustainable Development. For the past five years, Mariah has worked as a wilderness adventure guide, advocating for dam removal, conserving salmon populations and protecting wilderness through organizations like Idaho Rivers United. She also works with a program aimed at reducing recidivism rates by mentoring recently released felons, supporting them as they rebuild their lives. This summer, Mariah will live in a rural village in Rwanda to learn about social entrepreneurship and to assist the community in developing sustainable solutions for environmental, health and economic problems.
Lonnie Hackett [ME]
Lonnie is a Biochemistry student at Bowdoin College. He plans to work in global health and desires to be a physician and policy maker. The National Football Foundation selected Lonnie from a pool of over 400,000 as one of five national scholar athletes. Lonnie has spent the past two summers creating health education programs at low-income schools in Zambia and volunteering at rural health clinics in Nepal. While in Nepal, he carried out a self-designed research project aimed at improving healthcare utilization in developing countries. He strives to continue his work in international health in order to improve healthcare within developing countries.
Brandon Hersey [MS]
University of Southern Mississippi
Brandon is a Political Science and Communications Studies major at the University of Southern Mississippi. He plans on attaining a doctorate degree in higher education.
Stefan Johnson [PA]
Stefan interned at the White House last spring while mentoring students in the DC College Access Program. In Philadelphia, Stefan mentors students in the Urban Sustainability Leadership Academy and participates as a commentator on a news network discussing issues in the African American community. Stefan plans to combat the cycle of incarceration in Philadelphia through policy reform.
Deon Jones [DC]
Deon Jones is a junior majoring in political science. He serves as a National Spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice, an NGO committed to ending youth involvement in the adult criminal justice system. He also founded the Manifest Leadership Institute, a leadership program that caters to incarcerated youth.
Andrew Keefe [MN]
Andrew majors in linguistics and media & cultural studies. He currently interns at the Minneapolis Latino Economic Development Center and teaches after-school Spanish at several St. Paul public schools. He has also managed numerous community-based initiatives in Oaxaca, Mexico through the nonprofit Amigos de las Américas. After earning his PhD in Education, Andrew will work to develop policy geared toward closing the academic achievement gap in urban communities.
Katrina Klett [ND]
University of Minnesota
Katrina Klett was raised in a migratory beekeeping family between Jamestown, North Dakota and Sour Lake, Texas. She majors in Chinese language with a minor in sustainability studies. In addition, Katrina works on projects that train farmers how to raise bees in China, Vietnam, and Sierra Leone. Katrina is passionate about finding ways for farmers and rural people to generate income in a way that sustains or improves the environment they live in. After graduation she plans to continue these projects and apply to Columbia University's Earth Institute. In Katrina’s free time she returns home to work and spend time with her family.
Matthew Landrieu [LA]
Louisiana State University
Matt was born and raised in New Orleans. His passion revolves wholly around people, and his ambition is to make this world a better place to be. After graduating from Louisiana State University, Matt hopes to gain a M.A. from Stanford in Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies. Matt believes that education is a building block of democratic value and that schools can be effective instruments of social reform. Among other things, he loves to break through his comfort zone by traveling, meeting new people, and seeking out his next adventure.
Katelyn Larenz [WA]
University of Richmond
Kate Lawrenz majors in political science at the University of Richmond focusing on international relations. She intends to pursue a Master of Arts in International Affairs or Security Studies, and she is particularly interested in Middle East security concerns and nuclear proliferation.
Ryan Leonard [DE]
University of Delaware
Ryan Leonard majors in Political Science and History at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. Ryan spent his sophomore winter studying politics in Tunisia, and is the president of Delaware's mock trial team. He hopes to attend law school and begin a lifelong advocacy for the improvement of education in the Middle East and North Africa.
William Lindsey [NC]
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
Will studies History and Political Science at the University of North Carolina. Will has designed public service projects including trips to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina Relief, volunteering at the Duke University Cancer Clinic, and delivering “Meals on Wheels”. In 2010, Will won the Congressional Award Gold Medal for his public service. Will worked as a legislative intern for a United States Congresswoman, focusing his policy analysis in energy development. He continued this focus during his time as a policy intern for the President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina senate. He would like to return to the policy environment after graduate school. While in college, Will has served on every branch of student government.
Daniel Loehr [NH]
Daniel studies political science and Arabic at Middlebury College. He has worked with immigrant communities in El Paso, Texas and rural Vermont and plans to implement more just and effective immigration policies as a public servant. In his free time, Daniel loves biking, cooking, and dancing.
Michael Long [FL]
New College of Florida
Michael Long is a public policy and economics major at New College of Florida. He is an advocate for effective juvenile justice policy, as well as excellence and accessibility in education. Mike is a former member of Florida's Board of Governors of State University System, and was recently appointed by the Governor to Florida's State Advisory Group to the Department of Juvenile Justice. He is an avid sailor, having navigated over 5,000 nautical miles just this past year. He is also the captain of New College's sailing team and the founder of an at-risk youth sail training program.
Narintohn Luangrath [OR]
Narintohn is an International Studies major at Boston College. Her interests surround forced migration and the asylum application process. She has worked for the Irish Human Rights Commission in Dublin, Ireland, where she provided policy research, analysis, and recommendations for the Irish Government on policies concerning refugees and asylum seekers.
Clif Luber [MO]
United States Naval Academy
Clif is from Camdenton, MO and is a Political Science major with a concentration in American Politics at the US Naval Academy. His specific policy interests entail US foreign policy towards genocide and studies of the US Presidency and Congress. At USNA, he co-founded the Genocide Awareness Program and is active with the Ethics Debate team, Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference, and Missouri Boys State program. He hopes to be a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer or a Marine Corps Officer
Erin Mauldin [NM]
United States Military Academy
Cadet Erin Mauldin, an avid mountaineer, is a history and environmental science double major passionate about creating a sense of individual and communal responsibility for the impact of the military and society on the environment. Erin has developed and implemented sanitation training for West Point’s summer program and helped build a biogas-producing anaerobic digester in Uganda. She is the first American woman to have completed French Commando School and intends to be an infantry officer and continue working on sustainability.
Brian McGrail [VA]
Brian is a junior majoring in political economy and history at Williams. Originally from Arlington, Virginia, he has been active across campus in student government and as president of the Williams College Democrats. After graduation, he hopes to do tax policy work in Washington.
Kenneth Meador [OK]
University of Oklahoma
Kenneth is a political science major in the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma. His experiences as a combat medic in Iraq have led him to pursue a career in veterans advocacy. He
plans to pursue his JD and work in the Veterans Administration.
Vivienne Meljen [PA]
University of Scranton
Throughout her college career, Vivienne has volunteered in a local clinic for the uninsured where she has served as a translator and advisory board member. She has also shared her interest in language by developing and teaching a Medical Spanish workshop. After three years as an undergraduate, Vivienne will begin her medical education in the fall, pursuing a career in rural medicine. Upon completion of her MD, she will complete a residency in internal medicine in conjunction with an MPH to better serve rural communities.
Jordan Metoyer [TX]
University of Texas
Jordan seeks to improve social mobility in low-income urban communities, having volunteered at numerous public housing sites, interned with the Institute for Urban Policy Research, and founded her university's City Relations Task Force. As an aspiring public official, Jordan wants to advance policies at the nexus of education, housing, and poverty.
Sean Motl [TX]
Angelo State University
Sean Motl is an Honors psychology student at Angelo State University. He serves as a board member for two non-profit agencies and recently attended a human rights delegation in Rwanda. He plans on pursing a career as a physician-anthropologist to explore the nexus of global health, poverty, and human rights.
Rachel Mullin [SD]
College of Saint Benedict
Rachel is a Political Science and History major at the College of Saint Benedict. She has always believed in the power of education to impact lives. Currently, she is part of Extending the Link, a student run, non-profit, that highlights under told social justice issues around the world through film and education. She plans to pursue a career with USAID.
Ahmad Nasir [AK]
United States Military Academy
Cadet Ahmad Nasir is an American Politics and Arabic double major and a member of the West Point football team. A native Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi speaker, Ahmad has studied abroad in Morocco and Oman and aspires to serve as a soldier-diplomat focused on the Middle East and South Asia.
Alyssa Neill [RI]
University of Rhode Island
A Nutrition and Dietetics major, Alyssa is the president of her university’s Slow Food chapter, pioneered a campus farmers’ market, and installed community gardens for the campus community. This fall she served as an International Delegate for Slow Food USA at the Terra Madre conference in Italy. Alyssa works with various groups to promote innovative ideas to create an environment where local, whole food is a viable option. Much of Alyssa’s inspiration comes from the rich food cultures she has experienced throughout her adventures in Italy, Israel, Greece and Mexico. In the future Alyssa plans on working to increase the availability of whole foods to populations with health disparities, promote public awareness in regards to the food they consume, and encourage the pleasures of eating.
Gabrielle Newel [DC]
University of Chicago
A proud Washingtonian, Gabrielle Newell studies International Studies and Human Rights at the University of Chicago. Drawing from her appreciation of the power of unified groups – deriving from her experiences as a multiracial woman – Gabrielle leads racial justice initiatives, engages in health advocacy, and works to eradicate sexual exploitation in Chicago. She has served in the office of Congressman Edolphus Towns and intends to pursue a law degree. Additionally, Gabrielle is in constant pursuit of meaningful adventures.
Patrick Oathout [TX]
Patrick, of Houston, Texas, is Duke’s student body vice president. He has worked at refugee resettlement organizations in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and Jordan. Patrick has been honored for his work on a mobile application for refugees, and he serves on Duke’s Board of Trustees and is a Point Scholar.
Uzoma Orchingwa [CT]
Uzoma Orchingwa was born in Chicago, Illinois and lived in Aba, Nigeria for several years. He is the third of his mother’s four sons. He currently attends Colby College, where he is double majoring in Philosophy and Sociology. After Uzoma’s undergraduate studies he plans on attending law school.
Kemi Oyewole [CA]
Kemi Oyewole is an economics and mathematics double major at Spelman College where she sits on the Board of Trustees. She plans to be an economist and policy maker focusing on effective poverty interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Rebecca Peters [CA]
University of California- Berkeley
Rebecca is pursuing dual degrees in international development economics and environmental studies with a minor in global poverty. Her focus on water, gender, human rights, and conflict resolution has led her to work on collaborations in France, Guatemala, Denmark, and Mexico. As a Fellow of Berkeley Law's Human Rights Center, she will spend this summer in Bolivia studying the relationship between water availability and gender equality while researching the role of international institutions in shaping water management norms in the global South. Rebecca works at the Blum Center for Developing Economies at Berkeley, and leads Berkeley Water Group. She enjoys mountain climbing, yoga, and marathon training. In the future, Rebecca will pursue a career in shaping US foreign policy for water security and conflict mitigation.
Jeffrey Reppucci [MA]
College of the Holy Cross
Jeffrey is a Russian Studies major and a defenseman on Holy Cross’s Division I ice hockey team. He founded the 501(c)3 non-profit organization Students Helping Children Across Borders, Inc. in 2011, through which he organizes and implements community-building projects both domestically and abroad. Jeffrey intends to pursue a Master in Public Affairs degree and a career in social entrepreneurship.
Samuel Ritholtz [NY]
Sam studies International Development with a focus in Africana Studies and Global Health. Through his work with the organization Voices of African Mothers, he has led initiatives to establish meaningful relationships between university students in the US and women and youth in Africa. Sam hopes to one day be an advocate for refugees by ensuring that their voices are heard on the world stage.
Rahaf Safi [IN]
Rahaf is an honors student majoring in political science and philosophy and receiving a certificate in Political and Civic Engagement (PACE). She is passionate about protecting human rights. After law school, Rahaf plans to work with reform leaders seeking to design a constitution for their country.
Ana Serrano [PR]
University of Puerto Rice- Rio Piedras
Ana majored in Political Science and Economics with emphasis in international relations and economy of the public sector. She is a volunteer tutor in a community educational program for students of public elementary and secondary schools. She currently participates in advocacy efforts to promote better quality education through legislation and civic participation. Ana plans to pursue her graduate studies on educational policy to help develop community educational afterschool programs in Puerto Rico.
Evan Shepherd [KY]
University of Louisville
Evan Shepherd is a Political Science major with a concentration in Law and Public Policy and a minor in Economics from the University of Louisville. He was born in Nashville Tennessee and he grew up in rural Kentucky. His legal interest includes education litigation and pro bono defense work. Outside of Evan’s career, music and sports are two things he is passionate about. He plans to pursue a JD/MA program and work in class action litigation aimed at social reform.
Hannah Sitz [KS]
University of Kansas
Hannah is double majoring in Psychology and Strategic Communication (in the School of Journalism). As the Co-Director of Alternative Breaks, a service-learning group at KU, she seeks to find the most effective techniques for expanding the organization. With a passion for nonprofits, she plans to pursue a Master of Public Administration and hopes to work for the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Nathan Tauger [WV]
Nathan Tauger is a biology major at Vassar College. He participates in the Vassar After School Tutoring program and is an active member of the Vassar Jewish Union. Nathan plans to pursue public health and hopes to improve the quality of life for the underserved at home and abroad.
Jacob Tobia [NC]
Jacob is pursuing a degree in Human Rights Advocacy at Duke University. He hopes to work on behalf of the LGBTQ community. Jacob has worked at the United Nations Foundation, at Sonke Gender Justice Network in South Africa, and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa. In 2012, Jacob raised over $10,000 for the Ali Forney Center by running across the Brooklyn Bridge in high heels as part of his campaign called "Run for Shelter". Jacob is also a regular contributor for the Huffington Post. At Duke, Jacob has lobbied for full inclusion of gender neutral housing and restrooms, has worked to mobilize the Duke community against anti-LGBT ballot initiatives in NC, and has served as co-President of Blue Devils United.
Akunna Uka [NY]
Akunna is studying political science and educational studies. She is currently developing a computer literacy course for adult learners preparing for the 2014 GED through her Lang Opportunity Scholarship. Akunna is excited to pursue a career in education and work to improve the quality of public school education in America.
Zacharia Wahls [IA]
University of Iowa
Zach Wahls is an entrepreneur, advocate for LGBTQ rights, and a commentator on youth, environmental and LGBTQ issues. His testimony about his family before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee was YouTube's number one political video of 2011. He is also an Eagle Scout and the founder of Scouts for Equality, an organization working to end the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay youth and parents. He is a student at the University of Iowa.
Alexander Wang [PA]
New York University
Alexander studies Social Research and Public Policy with a concentration in Urbanization at New York University Abu Dhabi. He is founder of ADvocacy, a humanitarian student organization based in Abu Dhabi that provides vocational courses and English language instruction to marginalized communities throughout the city. His academic interests include global migration, postcolonial studies, and ethnographic research methods.
Mackenzie Welch [NE]
Born in rural Nebraska, Mackenzie spent her childhood living on the family farm and biking over the roads of Latin America and Eastern Europe. As a direct result of those experiences, she is now studying the effects of U.S. foreign policy, especially in regards to rural communities. In the past three years, Mackenzie has directed a rural educational program in Guatemala, worked with displaced families in Colombia, and spent a semester serving 30,000 indigenous clients in an environmental lawsuit in Ecuador. Mackenzie plans to join the Foreign Service and have a hand in shaping U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.
Meredith Wheeler [CO]
Meredith studies history and political science, with a focus on the modern Middle East. She spent a year living in Egypt before coming to Stanford, and on campus, she has served as co-director of the AMENDS initiative, which brings promising youth leaders from the U.S. and MENA regions together. She is also a writing workshop facilitator in juvenile hall and a member of the Stanford club ski team.
Mohammad Zia [MD]
University of Maryland- College Park
Mohammad Zia was born in Saudi Arabia and he is a first generation American of Pakistani and Afghani descent. Mohammad is pursuing an individually created major in Global Diplomacy & Development and he has volunteered in Morocco, Tanzania, Uganda, and Senegal. Mohammad hopes to work on improving diplomatic and economic relations between the U.S. and Muslim majority nations. Mohammad is also a Rangel Scholar and a PPIA Fellow.