Dr. Terry Babcock-Lumish, Executive Secretary
In 2019, Dr. Terry Babcock-Lumish became Executive Secretary of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. As Executive Secretary, she directs the independent federal agency that provides merit-based Truman Scholarships to college students pursuing graduate school in preparation for careers in public service. She supervises a selection process involving up to 400 colleges and universities that annually nominate more than 800 campus leaders for scholarships. She works closely with 150 senior public servants including federal judges, college and university presidents and past Truman Scholarship winners who serve on panels to select annually 60-65 new Truman Scholars. Under her direction, the Truman Foundation provides leadership training and community-building programs, along with graduate school and career counseling to several hundred Truman Scholars each year.
Before joining the Truman Foundation, Dr. Babcock-Lumish led Islay Consulting LLC, a certified minority and women-owned small business she founded in 2005 to provide strategic guidance for philanthropic foundations and other mission-driven organizations across six continents. In recent years, Dr. Babcock-Lumish held academic affiliations including the University of Arizona, the University of Delaware’s Biden School of Public Policy and Administration, the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, the Rothermere American Institute and the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Babcock-Lumish served as the founding Director of Public Policy at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, a center dedicated to education, research, and civic engagement located in the historic New York City home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Over the last 25 years, she has served in local, state, and federal government for both Democratic and Republican administrations. From 1999-2001, Dr. Babcock-Lumish served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Treasury Department and in the Council of Economic Advisers. She then served as a researcher for two books by former Vice President Al Gore. Her research interests are at the intersection of science, technology, and society.
Dr. Babcock-Lumish completed her B.S. at Carnegie Mellon University, where she was named a Truman Scholar in 1996. She earned an MPA in environmental and technology policy as a Lilly Community Assistance Fellow at Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She earned her D.Phil. in economic geography at the University of Oxford as a Clarendon Scholar.
Tara Yglesias, Deputy Executive Secretary
Tara Yglesias serves as the Deputy Executive Secretary for the Truman Foundation. Under the direction of the Executive Secretary, Ms. Yglesias is responsible for the Foundation's Scholar selection process and oversees the processing of applications as well as the Finalist Selection Committee and Regional Review Panels. She works closely with faculty representatives on recruiting and advising students during the Truman application process. Ms. Yglesias has served as the Foundation's liaison to the National Association of Fellowship Advisors (NAFA) since 2003 and has held positions on the NAFA Board as both the Foundation Representative and the Publications Co-Chair.
She directs the Truman Scholars Leadership Week, our annual event to welcome new Scholars. Ms. Yglesias is also responsible for the development and implementation of the Foundation's annual budget as well as other federal reporting requirements.
A 1993 Truman Scholar from Allentown, Pennsylvania, she holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from Syracuse University. She holds a dual degree in Policy Studies and African-American Studies. She was selected as a Woodruff Fellow at Emory University School of Law and earned her Juris Doctorate in 1997.
Before joining the Truman Foundation, Ms. Yglesias worked for the Fulton County Office of the Public Defender in Atlanta, Georgia. She began in the Jail Division and Juvenile Court. After gaining a taste and reputation for trial work, she was selected for the Felony Trial Division. She represented clients in a variety of criminal matters - from minor ordnance violations to major violent felonies.
Tonji Wade, Program Officer
Tonji Wade is the Program Officer, Network Administrator and Webmaster. She also organizes the Foundation's Finalist Selection Committee and manages the Scholar selection process. Ms. Wade has a B.S. in Information Systems and a M.S. in Cybersecurity.
Outside of the Foundation, Ms. Wade enjoys spending time with her family & friends, being an active member of her divine nine sorority, playing golf and traveling.
Ashni Bhojwani, Resident Scholar
Ashni Bhojwani recently relocated to the DC area with her two pups to join the Truman Foundation Staff in the Resident Scholar Position. Ashni previously worked at the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Human Trafficking Program Assistant where she served on the labor trafficking subcommittee. In 2021, Ashni completed her year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) at Jasmine Road, a two-year residential program for adult female survivors of human trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. Additionally, Ashni served at Mental Health America of Greenville County in its crisis hotline center to increase access to mental health resources in the upstate and respond to those experiencing an immediate mental health crisis.
Ashni attended Clemson University and received her Bachelor of Arts in both Criminal Justice and Psychology in 2020. While a student at Clemson University, she was a Resident Assistant as well as a member of the University Student Government (CUSG). During her time in CUSG, Ashni served as a Title IX Officer for the Office of Community and Ethical Standards, a judicial board hearing officer, and served on the Clemson University Supreme Court as Chief Justice. Ashni is a 2019 Ronald Reagan Institute Fellow and the Clemson University Matt Locke Recipient for Dedication to Service of Humankind in 2020, and the recipient of the Clemson University Outstanding Criminal Justice Student of the Year in 2020. Ashni is also the 2020 South Carolina Truman Scholar.