2015 Truman Scholars

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In 2015, the Truman Scholarship Foundation selected 58 outstanding college students as new Truman Scholars. Read more about them in our Press Release.

Alabama

Caylyn Perry

Caylyn Perry
Vanderbilt University

A proud army brat, Caylyn double majors in Political Science and History. With a focus on the intersectionality of urban issues, Caylyn's coursework and community involvement as an Ingram Scholar have concentrated on many issues including land use and mental health. She has worked in City Hall in both Philadelphia and Birmingham and with local nonprofits to address food insecurity in Nashville. Caylyn also directs a project that increases access to paid government internships. She is a lover of presidential trivia, hot yoga, and Don Draper.

 

Alaska

Teresa Kennedy

Teresa Kennedy
United States Naval Academy

Teresa is an English major with a passion for semantics, conflict resolution and genocide prevention. She is a Midshipman Fellow for the Stockdale Center of Ethical Leadership, a writing tutor, avid patron of the performing arts, and an amateur rugby player. Hailing from the frontier state of Alaska, she loves to hike, camp, and travel. Her life's mission is to avoid cold weather as much as possible and discover an end to genocide across the globe.

 

Arizona

Frank Smith

Frank Smith
Arizona State University

Frank is a junior studying Public Service and Public Policy with a concentration in Urban and Metropolitan Studies. He was elected the youngest student body president at ASU, the largest public higher education institution in the nation which educates more than 82,000 students, with an unusual two terms. Overcoming adversity as a product of the foster care system, he has found a passion for improving outcomes of foster youth.  Frank played an iatrical role in the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1208-Foster Care Tuition Waiver, and is currently working to expand it to allow more students to reap its benefits.

 

Bill De La Rosa

Bill De La Rosa
Bowdoin College

Bill is a Sociology and Latin American Studies double major planning to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology with an emphasis on migration. A Mexican-American, first generation college student, Bill is the student coordinator for the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, a member of the national State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and a Gates Millennium Scholar. In 2014, he was the youngest of 15 U.S. delegates selected by the Forum for Cooperation Understanding and Solidarity (FoCUS) to work alongside 15 Mexicans to draft policies and influence bilateral affairs. Bill is passionate about immigrant rights and has conducted grant-funded research on the effects of border security on undocumented migration and presented his findings at the Eastern Sociological Society and the Association for Borderland Studies. He hopes to honor Truman’s legacy by advocating for the people who the law considers voiceless. 

 

Arkansas

John Grant Addison

John Grant Addison
University of Arkansas

Grant is currently majoring in History and Political Science with minors in Theatre and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. He intends to pursue graduate degree programs in Law and Public Policy. Grant is involved in campus and community service projects as a director on the Student Alumni Board at the University of Arkansas, along with being a member of the campus College Republicans, Distinguished Lecturers Committee, and Razorback Marching Band. His interest in education policy and reform have led him to working as an undergraduate researcher at UA's Department of Education Reform, as well as being a policy research assistant for a member of the Education Committee within the Arkansas State Legislature. 

 

California

Zachariah Oquenda

Zachariah Oquenda
Claremont McKenna College

Zachariah left his home in Illinois at the age of seventeen to migrate to California with little more than a duffle bag full of clothes. When he arrived in California, the City of Claremont met him with open arms. The community's welcoming response--its generosity, kindness, and trust--instilled in Zachariah a deep passion and commitment to public service and equal opportunity. Encouraged by his second family in Claremont, he decided to attend Claremont McKenna College (CMC), where he was selected as an Edward J. Sexton Fellow of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and as a Salvatori Center Harrison Research Fellow doing work on civil asset forfeiture. Since attending CMC, Zachariah initiated a communication infrastructure development project under the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Kigali, Rwanda. He also started the Pay-it-Forward Claremont Initiative, which aims to provide low-income students with scholarship funds for professional public service opportunities. After graduation, Zachariah plans to attend law school with aspirations of effecting substantive change in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

 

Vivek Vashwanath

Vivek Vishwanath
Yale University

Vivek, a San Diego, CA native, is a junior majoring in the History of Medicine. He is passionate about reforming global primary care and domestic health insurance policies for undocumented immigrants. Currently, he is spending eight months in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa implementing a pilot community health worker program to expand HIV/TB health services. While at Yale, Vivek founded a development consulting group, interned at the Results for Development Institute, worked for the HAVEN Free Clinic, and conducted research on antimalarial efficacy. He hopes to pursue a Master’s in Public Health/MD and ultimately work to improve primary care affordability, access, and quality in the U.S. and abroad. 

 

Colorado

Cameron Hickert

Cameron Hickert
University of Denver

Cameron is a proud Colorado native pursuing majors in Physics and International Studies. Extensive experience with educational organizations in China and the U.S. drives his interest in sustainable and grassroots development. Cameron believes in bridging the gaps between theoretical science and practical policy, particularly through the dissemination of nuclear technology to fight cancer. He thoroughly enjoys climbing mountains, and is deeply passionate about rooftop decks. 

 

Connecticut

Russell Bogue

Russell Bogue
University of Virginia

Russell is majoring in the Politics Honors program at the University of Virginia, which gives him the opportunity to engage with seminal works of political theory and international relations in a small classroom setting with some of the best faculty in the department. He couples his study of politics with Chinese language studies, and he has spent the last two summers studying abroad or doing research in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Outside of the classroom, Russell serves as a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of his university's first undergraduate journal of American politics and political theory, and he also served as an Opinion Editor for The Cavalier Daily and as a student lecturer in constitutional law. He currently works for the Honor Committee, plays for the university squash team, conducts research in public choice, and helps to lead a Bible study through Reformed University Fellowship. He plans on a career in government and academia working on political reform in China. 

 

District of Columbia

Katherine Hamilton

Katherine Hamilton
Middlebury College

A proud Washingtonian, Kate is majoring in Political Science. She has worked as a field organizer for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, as a staff assistant for Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and as an intern at the political communications firm GMMB. At Middlebury, she chairs the Academic Judicial Board and edits the Opinions section of the college newspaper. She also directs MiddVote, an organization founded to increase civic participation among Middlebury students. Kate plans to pursue a law degree and use her legal career to fight barriers to democratic participation. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, running, and skiing and co-hosts a country music radio show. 

 

Florida

Daniel Hubbard

Daniel Hubbard
Florida State University

Daniel is pursuing a double major in Psychology and Sociology, with an interest in advocating for veteran and active duty military personnel through research.  As a former United States Army medic, Daniel has worked with these populations in several settings including Fort Drum, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Afghanistan.  Daniel is an active member of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program working with a research lab studying suicide and he also participates in the Florida State University Community Ambassador Program.  He is completing an Honors thesis that will examine factors specific to military suicide and is volunteering for a nonprofit law firm that assists underserved populations including veterans with legal needs. Daniel hopes to contribute to the collective effort of ameliorating the recent and drastic increase in military suicide.  After graduating from Florida State University, he will pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a program that aligns well with his interest in military mental health issues.

 

Georgia

Machmud Makhmudov

Machmud Makhmudov
Oberlin College

Machmud is a Politics major from Atlanta, Georgia. An immigrant from Uzbekistan, he has served as the head of Oberlin's Student Senate since his sophomore year and has volunteered on numerous political campaigns in Georgia and Ohio. A Cole Scholar and Oberlin Law Scholar, he has worked in the Mayor of Atlanta's Office of Sustainability, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Office of Congressman John Lewis, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute. Machmud also pitches for the varsity baseball team and is currently working on a novel. Following graduation, he intends to pursue a JD/MBA and enter a career at the intersection of electoral politics and environmental policy in his home state of Georgia. 

 

Guam

Rebecca Casimbon

Rebecca Casimbon
University of Guam

In 1950, President Truman signed the Guam Organic Act into law. This law made it possible for all future children born on Guam to become US citizens. Rebecca Casimbon is a daughter of parents originally from the Philippine Islands, but she was born in the U.S. Territory of Guam. Rebecca is a United States citizen because of President Truman and a living testament of the legacy of his vision for Guam. She is a senior in college at the University of Guam, and Rebecca aspires to be the first in her family to pursue a Master Degree and then a Doctorate. It is her passion to be a voice for the people and, one day, give back to the islands in a profound way by inspiring and helping to shape the members of the community that have given her so much.

 

Hawaii

Phoenix Rice-Johnson

Phoenix Rice-Johnson
University of Wisconsin-Madison

A student activist originally from Hawaii, Phoenix is an honors student pursuing majors in Political Science and International Studies with a Minor in South Asian Studies.  Phoenix serves as the Vice-Chair of the College Democrats of Wisconsin, the Public Defender of her student government, and the Democratic Leadership Institute Coordinator for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Growing up in Hawaii, Phoenix became passionate about ways to involve historically marginalized communities in the electoral process through civic education programs and more inclusive electoral policy. Phoenix intends to pursue a joint degree and to eventually work as an advocate for a more equitable and inclusive electoral system.

 

Illinois

Darrius Atkins

Darrius Atkins
Morehouse College

Darrius is Political Science major with a concentration in American Government. After completing his undergraduate studies, he intends to pursue a joint Master’s degree in Public Policy and Juris doctorate. Darrius is interested in breaking the School-to-Prison pipeline and reducing education and economic inequalities on Chicago’s South and West- sides. Darrius has interned with the Illinois House of Representatives and the Asset Management department of Goldman Sachs.  He is currently a Student Ambassador for the City of Atlanta’s Department of Justice working on a campaign to reduce and ultimately eliminate sexual violence. At Morehouse, Darrius is a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar and has served as the Sophomore and Junior Class president.            

 

Cristian Nuno

Cristian Nuno
University of Illinois-Chicago

Cristian is a third-year undergraduate student. He is a B.A. dual-degree candidate for both Economics and Urban & Public Affairs. Academically, Cristian is working his way towards a master degree in Public Policy, with a focus on public-private partnerships, municipal finance and urban policy. Professionally, he is striving for a career that would allow him to increase the well-being of many citizens, cities, and regions through various policy and community initiatives.

 

Indiana

John Jay Ruckelshaus

Jay Ruckelshaus
Duke University

Jay studies philosophy, political science, and English as an Angier B. Duke Scholar. A passionate advocate for the disability community, he directs Duke’s Accessibility Matters campaign, organized a national conference on disability and higher education, and has given keynote and panel presentations at numerous regional and national conferences. Jay founded and serves as president of Ramp Less Traveled, a quickly-growing nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting individuals with spinal cord injuries in the pursuit of higher education. He has researched alternative prison sentencing structures, the politics of government corruption, the philosophy of American citizenship, as well as various topics in political theory. Jay hopes to become a public intellectual advocate, leveraging graduate study in law and public policy to transpose the tenor of public disability rhetoric away from compulsion and toward the constructive role that all citizens can play, if only they are given the chance.

 

Iowa

Jeffrey Ding

Jeffrey Ding
University of Iowa

Born in Shanghai and raised in Iowa City, Jeffrey is dedicated to building sustainable relationships among people from different places and between humans and the environment. A junior currently serving as the Vice-President of the University of Iowa Student Government, he majors in political science, economics, and Chinese. Jeffrey promotes educational exchanges between the U.S. and China through his role as a campus ambassador for the 100K Strong Foundation, and is the campus Boren Scholarship nominee for a yearlong study abroad program at Peking University. Named an Udall Scholarship honorable mention for his commitment to environmental issues, he established an annual $10,000 student-managed Green Initiatives Fund and continues to advocate for a citywide apartment recycling mandate. After past experience as an intern at Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, he will participate in the United States Foreign Service Internship Program in the summer of 2015.

 

Kansas

Ashlie Koehn

Ashlie Koehn
University of Kansas

Ashlie is triple majoring in Economics, International Studies, and Environmental Studies while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the Kansas Air National Guard. Currently studying Russian and economics in the Kyrgyz Republic, her goal is to gain international experience and a strong economic background to advance the global effort against climate change. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Master of Science in Environmental Economics. Alongside work and studies, Ashlie is a runner and mandolin player. 

 

Kentucky

Amanda Allen

Amanda Allen
University of Louisville

Amanda is a Political science and Communication major. She serves as the Executive Director of the Engage Lead Serve Board, which oversees many student service initiatives and leadership programs at University of Louisville. As Executive Director, Amanda works with campus and community partners to not only assist the community, but to challenge students to be conscientious and active citizens through service leadership. Amanda also volunteers as a mentor at Shawnee High School. Upon completion of her Bachelor’s degree, Amanda plans to pursue a joint Master's in Education and a Juris Doctorate to enhance equity in public education in the United States.

 

Louisiana

Michael Beyer

Michael Beyer
Louisiana State University

Michael is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Political Science, as well as a Louisiana Service and Leadership Scholar, which aims to prepare LSU Honors College students for public service, social justice and leadership roles in Louisiana. He has worked as a Research and Communications Assistant at Louisiana Progress.  He has also served as the Research and Policy Co-Coordinator for Equality Louisiana, where he researched initiatives and legislation related to LGBT issues. In 2014 and 2015, he helped co-organize the Louisiana Queer Conference, and this past summer he interned in the Public Policy Department with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in Washington, D.C. He plans to pursue a career that focuses on increasing health care access for LGBT people. 

 

Maine

Adam Cohen

Adam Cohen
University of Pennsylvania

Adam is majoring in Urban Studies with particular interests in urban education and the role of anchor institutions in promoting sustainable urban development. Through various leadership roles with his university’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Adam has spent extensive time in Philadelphia’s under-resourced public schools working to increase rates of educational attainment through university-community academic partnerships. He strongly believes in the power of community-based education reform to improve the quality of life and advance democracy in low-income urban neighborhoods. Additionally, Adam has done research that reveals the importance of permanent supportive housing in transforming the lives of Maine’s long-term shelter-stayers.

 

Maryland

Andre Evans

Andre Evans
United States Naval Academy

"Inspire others: did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete with damaged petals?” MIDN 2/C Andre M. Evans is from Chicago, Illinois and is known for his ability to empower others and for reciting the words above. He is a Naval Architecture major passionate about engineering, STEM education, inspirational speaking, and giving back to under-resourced and urban communities. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Andre intends to service select Engineering Duty Officer and later pursue a graduate degree in Social and Urban Policy. As President of the Midshipmen Black Studies Club (MBSC), Bass Section leader for the USNA Gospel Choir, STEM leader, minority mentor, and military outreach officer, Andre remains busy as he strives to empower and provide opportunities for at-risk youth.  Andre works with a diverse range of mentors to provide leadership/mentorship sessions, financial workshops, and outreach services to under-resourced youth. Andre also maintains a blog that addresses the violence in Chicago called "fruitfuldreams.wordpress.com".

 

Massachusetts

Samuel Boland

Samuel Boland
University of Chicago

Sam’s predominant interest lies in maternal and child health (MCH) in the developing world. He has worked in South Sudan organizing rural midwifery training programs, in Kenya empowering a community hospital's transition into an MCH referral center, and in Sierra Leone (currently) on Ebola response. As comprehensive maternal care has all but disappeared from Sierra Leone due to Ebola transmission risks during managed birth, Sierra Leone now has the highest rate of maternal mortality globally. For this reason, Sam believes the best way to address maternal mortality in Sierra Leone is to eradicate Ebola. He currently supports the Irish NGO GOAL and their surveillance efforts in tracking down suspect Ebola cases in the Port Loko district for referral to Ebola treatment centers (ETCs).

 

Jacob Miller

Jacob Miller
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Jacob focuses his time and energy on civic engagement and service at UMass Dartmouth, where he is a junior majoring in political science and English. Jacob finds solutions to improve the community by working closely with others. He has worked on state healthcare legislation, service learning curriculum, small business creation, workforce development programs, youth civic engagement, and registering hundreds to vote. He also serves as a student representative to the UMass Board of Trustees. He enjoys running, kayaking, reading and hanging out with his friends.

 

Michigan

Ellie Dupler-McClintock

Ellie Dupler-McClintock
Yale University

A first-generation college student and Quest Scholar from a small town in northern Michigan, Ellie is interested in the field of international development as it pertains to disparities in global health and women's rights. Over the past three years, Ellie has worked in Uganda, Ghana, and Zambia on a variety of global health initiatives. Most recently she worked for USAID in Lusaka, where she helped monitor sites providing HIV/AIDS support services for commercial sex workers and survivors of gender-based violence. During her junior fall, Ellie traveled to Chile, Jordan and Nepal to study comparative human rights and conduct research on access to mental health services for domestic violence survivors. At school, Ellie enjoys dancing with the Yale Ballet Company as well as racing with the Yale Alpine Ski Team. She hopes to pursue a career with the United Nations or the U.S. government relating to foreign policy and international women's rights. 

 

Minnesota

Thomas Roberts

Thomas Gonzalez Roberts
Princeton University

Thomas, of Morris, Minnesota, studies astrophysics and Russian language. With an emphasis on global security and anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon technology, Thomas' independent research focuses on international science collaboration through space policy. Outside of his research and coursework, Thomas organizes the largest network of volunteer students on campus (Community Action), through the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, teaches English as a Second Language courses in nearby Trenton, New Jersey, and performs and produces musical theatre as an actor and manager of the Princeton University Players. 

 

Mississippi

Jamie Aron

Jamie Aron
Mississippi State University

Jamie is majoring in Political Science and Mathematics and she is a Presidential Endowed Scholar and a member of the Shackouls Honors College. Jamie is the founder and director of WE Lead (Women Empowered Leadership Conference) and serves as the Undergraduate Representative on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Jamie was one of three US women chosen to intern at the Andi Leadership Institute in D.C. last summer where she discussed conflict resolution and peace negotiations. She is also active in the Student Association, serving as Director of Community and Governmental Relations. Her post graduate goals include receiving a masters and doctorate in International Relations in order to work for international governing bodies, such as the United Nations. 

 

Missouri

Emily Waggoner

Emily Waggoner
University of Missouri

Emily is a Political Science major pursuing minors in Women’s & Gender Studies and Leadership & Public Service. A political leader on campus and off, Emily served two years as President of the Mizzou College Democrats, worked in both the Missouri State House and Senate and served as the Deputy Director of Targeting for the Missouri Democratic Party during the 2014 campaign cycle. Emily’s passion for politics stems from her deep-seated desire to improve access to quality health services for all residents in her home state, particularly those struggling with mental illness. After graduating, Emily intends to pursue a graduate degree in health policy to position herself to effect change in the Missouri public health system. 

 

Montana

Alexander Paterson

Alexander Paterson
Montana State University-Bozeman

Alexander is a junior in his university's Honors College majoring in Economics with a minor in Mathematics. Alexander is actively involved in Montana's LGBTQ advocacy community serving as President of Montana State University's Queer Straight Alliance and as a canvassing volunteer for Forward Montana. On campus he is an Opinion Writer for the Exponent student newspaper, Treasurer of Engineers Without Borders, Treasurer of the International Business Club, and a member of the LGBTQA Advisory Board. In his free time, you can find him dancing, eating bagels, or reading. Alexander intends on pursuing a career in public policy focusing on LGBT human rights.

 

Nebraska

Ann Himes

Ann Himes
University of Nebraska

Ann is a proud Nebraskan, studying Russian, Global Studies, and History with minors in Spanish, English, Political Science, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. She has been inspired by the many strong women in her life to pursue a career in public service with special attention to women’s issues domestically and globally. Ann intends to pursue a law degree, ultimately using law for public advocacy to further progressive social causes, especially those pertaining to women and children. On campus, she has worked to combat prejudice and intolerance through the formation of a new student organization dedicated to diversity appreciation and cultural literacy. In the community, Ann has interned in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature and at a local non-profit dedicated to social justice. In her free time, Ann enjoys rock climbing, distance running, and practicing yoga.

 

Nevada
Daniel Waqar

Daniel Waqar
University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Daniel is a junior in his university’s Honors College majoring in History and with minors in Global Entrepreneurship and Public Policy in the Brookings Institute’s Mountain West studies program. Daniel advocates for students’ rights before the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents and the Nevada Legislature as the Director of Nevada Legislative Affairs and Public Relations, and pioneered the creation of the inaugural 2015 Joint Vision of UNLV Student Government for 23,000 students.  He is currently studying abroad in Haifa, Israel, at the University of Haifa, with dual emphases in Peace and Conflict Studies and Arabic Culture and Civilization. While in Haifa, he leads volunteer projects as a Presidential Merit Ambassador at Yad Ezer LaHaver, a day center for the elderly and Holocaust survivors. Daniel will be working with leading Israeli political scientists in Haifa to research Israeli land settlements in post-1967 borders within the context of renewed “final status” negotiations.

 

New Hampshire

Jacob Levin

Jacob Levin
CUNY Brooklyn College

Jake is a Macaulay Honors College student studying political science and philosophy. He is passionate about political participation, volunteerism, and the creation of safe and nurturing spaces for students, artists, and youth. To empower CUNY students and provide a platform for the spreading and sharing of ideas, Jake founded TEDxCUNY, New York City's first public university TEDx conference. He has worked for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York City Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and serves on Lincoln Center's Student Advisory Council. A camp counselor for the last 5 years, he also cares deeply about youth leadership and development. Jake hopes to pursue a law degree to advocate for veterans and other underrepresented groups.

 

New Jersey

Louis Laine

Louis Laine
Swarthmore College

Louis was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haïti, but currently lives in Vauxhall, NJ. He attends Swarthmore College, where he majors in Philosophy and Political Science. He is involved in Swarthmore’s Writing Associates Program, he is an executive board member of Swarthmore's Black Student Union and he is a an active member of the Tri-College Chapter of the NAACP in Pennsylvania. He helped found, and is now president, of Race to Action, an intercultural group committed to fostering inclusive spaces, as well as intergroup dialogue among affinity groups at Swarthmore and other college campuses. Louis hopes to be a civil rights attorney. 

 

New Mexico

Alfred Delena

Alfred Delena
Stanford University

Alfred is a Gates Millennium Scholar who is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology, along with both a Minor and Honors in Education. Born and raised on a rural Native American reservation in New Mexico, Alfred is dedicated to improving the educational and health outcomes for Native people; starting with his community and spreading out, he is committed to helping create a fundamental paradigm change in Indian Country. Throughout his undergraduate career, Alfred has volunteered with various summer and after-school programs to help young people, from serving as a Camp Kesem counselor for children whose parents have suffered/suffer from cancer to tutoring elementary students in reading and writing. He is also passionate about improving student wellness on campus through his involvement as a member of the Associated Students of Stanford University’s Emotional Well-Being Action committee, as an intern for the "I Thrive at Stanford" program, and as a course designer and instructor, teaching incoming freshmen the science of happiness and discovering opportunities at Stanford. In the future, Alfred hopes to make a difference by working with schools and communities to make young people happier, healthier, and resilient. 

 

New York

Harmann Singh

Harmann Singh
Columbia University

Harmann studies Mathematics and Economics. He has served as an intern at The White House, published about minority empowerment in the Huffington Post and Columbia Spectator, and was a student editor for a book on human rights violations in India that sold over 4,500 copies worldwide. In collaboration with the Department of Justice and Harlem Children's Village, he created Project Identity, a mentorship program that connects Columbia students with youth in Harlem. He also serves on the board for Columbia Sewa and Columbia Orchestra, as an Interfaith Fellow with the Chaplain’s Office, and was a Research Assistant in the Department of Economics. In his spare time, Harmann is a classical percussionist and has performed in Lincoln Center and as a soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic. As the only member of his family born in the United States, he hopes to attend law school and leverage his education to empower underprivileged and marginalized communities.

 

Krystal McLeod

Krystal McLeod
New York University

Krystal’s passion for education reform was developed at a young age after witnessing first-hand the educational disparities within her own household and community. Since then she has dedicated herself to reforming our nation’s current education model, using her experience with national nonprofits in the process. The culmination of her experiences as a Democracy Coach, Advisory Board Member and Community Change Fellowship Coordinator for Generation Citizen, and her role as United Nations Youth Representative for NGO World Education Fellowship, among others, equipped her with the tools necessary to found, create and manage her own education initiative, “My” Right to Learn. She instituted this program for low income minority youth, taking into account the importance of developing mindful future leaders that in addition to academic competency, possess self-awareness and an understanding of the social and economic trends that affect their communities.

 

North Carolina

Rashaun Bennett

Rashaun Bennett
Davidson College

Rashaun is a political science major and economics minor. Rashaun has worked his local school district, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on ways to increase Advanced Placement enrollment. Afterwards, he worked with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and currently is working on a unique online pilot supplemental Advanced Placement instructional program called Davidson Next. Rashaun’s future aspirations include pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy and becoming an education policymaker in North Carolina. 

 

North Dakota

Matthew Perdue

Matthew Perdue
Dickinson State University

Matthew is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science with a minor in Leadership Studies.  He is a former Student Assistant Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program, the President of the League of Political Scientists, the Government Relations Representative for the Student Senate and a former member of the Blue Hawk football team.  Raised on the family farm, he is a proud lifelong member of the North Dakota Farmers Union.  Matthew has developed a deep love for the land of northwestern North Dakota and the work of planting, harvesting and caring for it.  He plans to pursue a Juris Doctorate with a concentration in Energy and Environmental Law, after which he hopes to return to North Dakota to serve as an advocate for family farmers and private landowners.

 

Ohio

David Danesh

David Danesh
Ohio State University

David is majoring in Microbiology with a minor in Global Public Health. Passionate about solving the big issues in dental public health in Ohio and the US, he intends to attend dental school and then pursue his MPH and pediatric dentistry residency training. He hopes to combine his experience serving in national leadership at the American Student Dental Association and conducting public health research to improve oral health policy to address barriers in access to oral health care. His clinical and public health training will allow David to serve as a public health dentist in underserved areas in Ohio through the National Health Service Corps, then transition to serve as the State Dental Director at the Ohio Department of Health.

 

Oklahoma

Ariel Helms

Ariel Helms
Vanderbilt University

As a Honors College Scholar, Max Kade Fellow and Research Team Member at the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center, Ariel dreams of finding cures for diseases through research and through recruiting the next generation of scientists into the STEM fields.  Ariel is a Molecular & Cellular Biology major with a Chemistry minor and is planning to become a physician-scientist.  She is the Founder and President of the Scientific Immersion & Mentorship Program, which is an undergraduate research program at Vanderbilt.  As a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation, Ariel aims to integrate biomedical research into tribal healthcare networks and to recruit and train minorities in the STEM fields in an effort to preserve the health of the Native community.

 

Oregon

Qiddist Hammerly

Qiddist Hammerly
Northwestern University

Qiddist is a social policy major passionate about reducing racial disparities in the education and criminal justice system. As an America Reads teacher at Lincolnwood Elementary School, she strives to instill in her students a love of learning. Qiddist also works to create a culture of civic engagement among college youth, and leads the voter registration, education, and participation efforts at Northwestern's Center for Civic Engagement. Qiddist has volunteered with multiple aldermanic campaigns in Chicago, and believes strongly in the ability of people to reclaim democracy through community and political organizing. She plans to pursue her MPP, with the goal of eradicating the racial achievement gap and working towards rehabilitative alternatives to incarceration.

 

Pennsylvania

Mya-Lee Roberson

Mya-Lee Roberson
Brown University

Mya studies public health with a special interest in cancer in racial/ethnic minority populations. She intends to pursue Master of Public Health and PhD degrees in Epidemiology, with a focus on understanding cancer using social epidemiological methods. Mya aspires to make the United States a healthier place for Black women in terms of cancer prevention and cancer treatment while inspiring the next generation of scientists of color through mentorship initiatives.

 

Puerto Rico

Rebeca Agosto-Rosa

Rebeca Agosto-Rosa
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras

Rebeca is a Political Science and Journalism double major. She is interested in human rights and the sociopolitical impact of mass media. Through her Honors thesis, she is studying the flaws of the media coverage of human trafficking in Puerto Rico in order to develop a set of guidelines for journalists and increase the visibility of often ignored forms of exploitation. She enjoys travelling, learning languages and writing, which she considers great mediums to understand the world. She has an advocacy blog, mostly in Spanish and English with the occasional French entry; check it out! (Contraniebla.wordpress.com)

 

Rhode Island

Marissa Marandola

Marissa Marandola
Boston College

Marissa is a Gabelli Presidential Scholar and Honors student majoring in Political Science with minors in American Studies and Management and Leadership. A native of Cranston, Rhode Island, she has interned in the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General and Family Court and with the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity, an independent think tank. On campus, she is the Editor in chief of Elements, BC's undergraduate research journal, and an executive board member for BC Splash, an organization that seeks to connect disadvantaged high school students with the possibilities offered by higher education. After completing her undergraduate degree, Marissa plans to pursue a law degree and hopes to become an advocate for children as an education attorney. 

 

South Carolina

Donovan Hicks

Donovan Hicks
Wofford College

Donovan is a junior pursuing two majors in Government and Finance with a minor in Accounting. On campus, Donovan currently serves as the Student Body Vice President of Wofford's Campus Union, where he chairs several student-led committees and works closely with administration to be an active voice of his peers. He also has served as the President of the Pre-Law Society, the Ministry Team of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), and the Judicial Commission. From interning in Southern India to Washington D.C. and even studying in Freiburg, Germany, Donovan has had the opportunity to develop his own narrative. As a National Gates Scholar and a Bonner Scholar, Donovan volunteers weekly with SC Legal Services, which is a non-profit legal aid firm for poverty individuals in need of civil representation throughout the State. As an intern and an attendee of Harvard's PPLC 2014, Donovan was inspired to not only start his own community initiative entitled Student to Student (S2S), but also to pursue graduate studies in public policy (M.P.P.) and law (J.D.). Specifically, Donovan hopes to return his good fortune by working on educational inequalities of black male high school graduates. Donovan's passion is empowering others to become change agents in their own respects. 

 

South Dakota

Cara Thuringer

Cara Thuringer
Montana State University - Bozeman

Cara is facinated by the implications of climate change on a global scale.  Ever since an elementary school class project on the endangered black-footed ferret, Cara has maintained an interest in conservation and the environment.  Through her research in Bolivia, Morocco, South Africa, and Vietnam, her interests have evolved into investigating how resource scarcities contribute to violent conflict and how climate change will exacerbate these situations.  Using photography as a medium for communication, she documents environmental conflicts, both domestically and internationally.  In the future, Cara hopes to combine her passion for the environment with photography to promote better resource management globally and reduce violent conflict.  Cara's role models include: Senator Paul Wellstone, Senator Tom Udall, and Bryan Schutmaat.  In her free time, Cara is usually backpacking, running, knitting, or building bicycles.

 

Keith Martinez

Keith Martinez
Villanova University

Keith grew up on and off the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe. Keith is a graduate of Scarsdale High School in NY, where he spent his last two years in the STEP program, an intensive college preparatory program for talented youth. Keith is a junior at Villanova University, where he is a Presidential and a Gates Millennium Scholar. For several years Keith has been the Chair of the Youth Advisory Board for Lakota Children's Enrichment, a nonprofit that empowers youth in his home community on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Keith has received numerous awards for his service with LCE: he was named South Dakota's Youth Service Ambassador by Youth Service of America (2013-14); a Champion for Change by the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute (2014-15); and he is the recipient of a scholarship to the PPIA Summer Institute at Princeton University (2015). Keith frequently speaks about the power of education, seeking help and perseverance, and made his international speaking debut in the summer of 2014 at the Nexus Global Youth Summit at the United Nations. 

 

Tennessee

Grace May

Grace May
Georgetown University

Grace is majoring in government with an interest in the intersections of education, immigration, and social justice. She is passionate about using education as a catalyst for social change in rural communities. On campus, Grace is heavily engaged with the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service where she is a coordinator for the DC Schools Project - a tutoring, mentoring, and advocacy organization that provides English language services to immigrant youth and their families. Through her role in the Georgetown University Student Government as the Secretary for Social Justice, she founded the Committee on Class, Equity, and Access. She is also invested in research efforts with the Georgetown Community Research Group, focusing on creating sustainable solutions of community development and support.

 

Texas

Victoria Ochoa

Victoria Ochoa
Saint Edward’s University

Victoria is a political science major and a proud resident of the Rio Grande Valley. She works at the Kozmetsky Center of Excellence, where helps bring members of the St. Edward's and greater Austin community together to discuss and collaborate on international issues. She is also the Policy Director at Common Sense Action, a millennial bipartisan think tank and advocacy organization, and the Director of her university's sexual assault prevention campaign.  Victoria has also interned at the White House in Vice President Biden's Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Annie's List, the Texas House of Representatives, and the U.S. House of Representatives through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. After graduation, Victoria plans to obtain a Juris Doctorate/Master of Public Policy degree to pursue a career in public service. 

 

Kathleen Wilson

Kathleen Wilson
University of Georgia

Kathleen studies economics, international affairs, and Arabic. Through NGO and government internships, including work with the U.S. Department of State and the Feminist Majority Foundation, Kathleen has developed a passion for gender equity and women’s empowerment. On campus, she founded the Women’s Outreach and Resource Coalition and has advocated for the establishment of women’s center at her university.  Kathleen hopes to obtain a joint Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies and Master's in Public Policy, with a concentration in international development. These degrees will help her pursue a career at the Department of State, where she will formulate policies to extend educational and economic opportunities to women in the Middle East and North Africa.

 

Utah

Erin Dugan

Erin Dugan
University of Delaware

 

Erin is majoring in public policy with minors in economics and public health. Her primary focus is on the social determinants of health, specifically the impacts of socioeconomic status and race on health outcomes. She has served as an intern in Governor Jack Markell’s Office of Federal Affairs in Washington, D.C.; The Wellness Plan Medical Centers in Detroit, Michigan; and Alliance for a Better Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. On campus, she is the Operations Coordinator for University of Delaware Alternative Breaks, a teaching assistant, Writing Fellow, and self-proclaimed “witty” blogger. She hopes to work on health policy at the federal level after obtaining her MPH and MPP.

 

Vermont

Sophie McKibben

Sophie McKibben
Brown University

A UWC Davis Scholar, Sophie spent the last two years of high school at Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway, where she started an adaptive cross country skiing program and tutored refugees seeking asylum.  Sophie continued her work with refugees in Providence, running a summer camp for recent arrivals, and leading a study on refugee health and nutrition in collaboration with Brown’s School of Public Health and the Rhode Island Food Policy Council. Also at Brown, Sophie, a wilderness EMT, serves on Brown EMS, is a trip leader for the Brown Outdoor Leadership Program, and founded and edits Now Here This, the nation’s first collegiate audio magazine.  A history and public health double major, Sophie plans to pursue graduate work in public health, with a focus on the health impacts of forced migration and trauma. 

 

Virginia

Lia CattaneoLia Cattaneo
University of Virginia

A Civil & Environmental Engineering and Environmental Sciences double major, Lia has worked to build a community around sustainability at the University of Virginia (UVA). She loves creating spaces in which students can accomplish ambitious goals, meet their best friends, and grow into leaders empowered to create change. She is also involved in a number of research projects, serves on the Board of Directors of UVA’s student volunteer center, is the president of the Club Figure Skating Team, and is active in the Jewish community. Lia’s goal is to use science and policy to take action on climate change. After graduation, she hopes to work in the climate and energy policy field.

 

Washington

Olivia Smith

Olivia Smith
Seattle University

Olivia’s passion for the serving the community was inspired by her high school career in the inner city of Seattle. She recognized that while her peers were full of potential, the school reeked of apathy. Olivia was determined to change the attitude of her high school, and did so by inspiring her peers to be the source of their own change, by developing a student-mentoring program. This program has helped to change the morale of the school, and conquer the bigger issues of student truancy that plague her community. Today, Olivia continues to advocate for communities like hers that are full of potential, but dismissed by society. Olivia is a recipient of the Sullivan Award, the most prestigious leadership and service award at Seattle University. At Seattle University, she double majors in Political Science and Spanish. Olivia aspires to address the ethnic, racial and gender biases that affect our justice system as an attorney. 

 

West Virginia

Zahava Urecki

Zahava Urecki
Roanoke College

Zahava is a junior from Charleston, West Virginia majoring in political science.  As a proud "Maroon" at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, Zahava works as a student assistant in the Political Science Department, tutors students at the Writing Center, is an active member of Hillel, and enjoys creating witty bulletin boards as a Resident Advisor.  After watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report at the age of 11, Zahava gained a passion for politics and an appreciation for American government.  She has spent two summers and a semester interning on Capitol Hill for U.S Senator Joe Manchin and former Congressman Nick Joe Rahall.  These experiences have fostered in her a desire to pursue a career in civil service and help the people of her home state of West Virginia.

 

Wisconsin

Elizabeth Doyle

Elizabeth Doyle
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Elizabeth has had a passion for justice and equity from a young age. Dreams of making an impact on the lives of others and advocating for those without a voice came to fruition through her involvement in community organizing. The experience she gained through volunteering to further health, education, and political campaigns equipped her with the skills to be that advocate. Elizabeth lives in Verona, Wisconsin, with her partner, Thomas, and daughter, Zoe, where she serves as City Council President. She was elected to this position unanimously by her colleagues halfway through her first term as Alderperson making her the first woman in leadership in Verona’s history. 

 

Wyoming

Madison

Madison Orcutt
Middlebury College

Maddie is currently pursuing a double major in Political Science and Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies. On campus, she is involved with sexual assault activism, refugee advocacy, and leading service learning trips about immigrants' rights and women's empowerment. She is particularly interested in studying the ways in which our understanding of gender constructs immigration law. Upon graduating in May 2016, Maddie plans on pursuing a J.D. in immigration law to better support undocumented immigrants who have survived sexual violence. In her spare time, Maddie enjoys fly fishing in her home state of Wyoming.

 

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