Dr. Terry Babcock-Lumish, Executive Secretary
In 2019, Terry Babcock-Lumish, a 1996 Truman Scholar from Pennsylvania, was named the sixth – and first female – Executive Secretary of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, the United States’ living memorial to the thirty-third president and the presidential monument to public service.
Before joining the Truman Foundation, Dr. Babcock-Lumish founded and led Islay for fifteen years, providing strategic guidance for philanthropic foundations and other mission-driven organizations across six continents. Representative clients include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Brooks World Poverty Institute, Clinton Global Initiative, His Royal Highness Prince Feisal Al Hussein’s Generations for Peace, and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Past academic affiliations include the University of Arizona, City University of New York, the University of Delaware’s Biden School, Harvard Law School, the University of Oxford, and the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she developed West Point's first behavioral economics course and a civilian-military partnership with the Culinary Institute of America. Dr. Babcock-Lumish was the founding Director of Public Policy at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute in the historic New York City home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Dr. Babcock-Lumish served in local, state, and federal government for both Democratic and Republican administrations, and as a researcher for two books by former US Vice President Al Gore. From 1999-2001, she was a Presidential Management Fellow at the Treasury Department and in the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Media publications and appearances include ABC News, the TODAY Show, The Hill, Forbes, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post.
Dr. Babcock-Lumish completed her BS at Carnegie Mellon University and 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 read her DPhil in economic geography at the University of Oxford as a Clarendon Scholar and continues today as an Honorary Research Associate with Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment and a Distinguished Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House, and the Royal Geographical Society, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
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.