2016 Truman Scholars
Congratulations to the 2016 Truman Scholars! In 2016, we selected 54 outstanding college students as Truman Scholars. Read more about them in our Press Release.
The Foundation reviewed 775 files from 305 institutions. Students were selected based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement. Our Finalist Selection Committee selected 201 students to interview with the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels between March 3rd and April 7th.
University of Alabama
A student organizer and first-generation American, Ciara is pursuing a degree at the University of Alabama in political science and French with a minor in psychology. She is a co-founder of a campus movement, We Are Done, which established an Intercultural Diversity Center and a Subcommittee on Diversity at her campus. She has done work with United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) since her freshman year, and under her leadership, the University of Alabama affiliated with the Workers' Rights Consortium, a historic win in the right-to-work South. Ciara also started a USAS chapter at Auburn University. She serves as a board member for the Workers’ Rights Consortium, the vice-president for the International Relations Club, a delegate for the Serbia Fellowship Experience, and a teaching assistant for a freshman honors course, Moral Forum. A lover of languages and a member of an immigrant family, she hopes to work in migrant justice and reform, engaging in intersectional work to address the unique challenges migrant communities face.
University of Arkansas
Victoria grew up on a cattle farm, so agriculture became a part of her life early on. She is currently majoring in agricultural business concentrating in pre-law, with a minor in agricultural communications. On campus, Victoria is involved in the Student Alumni Board, Volunteer Action Center, Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity, and various clubs within the agricultural business and agricultural communications departments. Passionate about agricultural advocacy and leadership development, Victoria recently spent a year traveling over 100,000 miles across the country as a National FFA Officer promoting both interests. After graduating, Victoria will pursue a JD and LLM in agricultural and food law.
University of California-Irvine
Daniela studies political science with a concentration in public law. As a Mexican-American first generation college student, she is interested in disadvantaged communities and ensuring that the poor have effective legal representation. Daniela has interned at the Orange County District Attorney’s office. Currently, she is researching police brutality within the LAPD, and working to establish a legal clinic that provides legal services to students on campus. Daniela plans to attend law school where she hopes to study criminal law. Her long-term goal is to become a leader in the criminal justice system by ensuring that indigent criminal defendants are given adequate and effective representation.
Raymond Victor Magsaysay
Raymond is a first-generation immigrant student and Quest Scholar majoring in sociology and minoring in Hispanic studies and English: Race & Ethnicity at Vassar College. He is passionate about utilizing coalition-building and critical, intersectional frameworks to combat the inequities that exist in the nation’s interlocking immigration, education, and criminal justice systems. Most recently, Raymond interned with the Diverse Elders Coalition in Washington D.C. as a Vassar Burnam Fellow to help shape aging policy for minority and LGBT people. At Vassar, Raymond has led successful campaigns with the Student/Labor Dialogue, a collective of workers and students dedicated to cultivating a dignified and empowered working environment, in addition to holding multiple leadership roles on campus to ensure that students of color and other marginalized populations thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Raymond plans to continue his work in law and policy this coming summer as a Vassar Tananbaum Fellow and First Generation Civil Rights Fellow at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law. Upon graduation, he plans to attend law school to better equip himself to contribute to the creation of a more just society.
Colorado State University
Elizabeth started studying Arabic when she was 13 and hasn't stopped since. An international studies major with a concentration in Middle Eastern and North African studies at Colorado State University, she spends her time as president of the Arabic Club and as a Student Ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts. She aims to get a graduate degree in Arabic linguistics and become a professor of Arabic because of her passion for the language and her belief that more Americans should learn about Arabs, their culture and their language. A New Mexico native, she also studies Spanish and eats prodigious amounts of green chile.
University of Notre Dame
CJ is an Arabic and peace studies double major with a minor in politics, philosophy, and economics. Growing up in China and attending Mandarin elementary school, CJ is committed to exploring and building bridges between cultural and religious identities. He has promoted advocacy for Syrian refugees at Notre Dame, helping to head the Solidarity with Syria Coalition. He has also spent the last two summers volunteering and researching with Palestinian, Syrian, and Iraqi refugees in Jordan. During the spring of 2015, he studied in Jerusalem at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute and is now in an Arabic immersion program in Amman, Jordan for the spring of 2016. CJ is on the board of directors for the NGO Road to Mafraq, and is motivated by the pursuit of partnerships between U.S.-based humanitarian action and local relief and accompaniment in Jordan.
Hasher is majoring in political science and minoring in religion at Middlebury College. At the age of seven, he moved to Pakistan to learn more about his religion and culture. He spent the next eight years of his life in Islamabad before moving back to the United States in 2008. His coursework and research at Middlebury allow him to focus on the media representations of religious groups, the integration difficulties facing minorities, and the relationships between Islamic and Western values. He is a Senior Fellow for Humanity in Action and has served as a member of the State Farm Youth Advisory Board and the Pearson Student Advisory Board. He is also a Gates Millennium, Horatio Alger, and Nordstrom Scholar. After Middlebury, he plans to pursue a doctoral program in Islamic studies.
University of Delaware
Sarah, a student in the University of Delaware Honors Program, is pursuing a major in environmental engineering with a concentration in water resources and water quality, with minors in French and political science. She is dedicated to improving water quality and sanitation internationally. She is a research student on a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Eco-vapor toilet project with applications in the developing and developed world. As the founder and manager of an Engineers Without Borders project in the Philippines, Sarah will improve the water quality and sanitation of a 1,200 person community. She hopes to work on water and sanitation policy for an international organization such as the United Nations after completing a PhD in environmental engineering.
District of Columbia
University of Michigan
Hailing from Washington, D.C., Amalia is currently a junior studying cellular and molecular biology as well as political science at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. She is passionate about how health policy is able to effectively improve healthcare access and outcomes and is interested in learning more about the impact that healthcare disparities have on the implementation of delivery system reforms. Amalia plans to pursue her passion for healthcare and public service through a joint MD/MPP degree and is eager to provide care through both the provider and policy settings. Her past experience includes interning for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics as well as in the Majority Health Office of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. This past fall, Amalia also interned for the Health Office within the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. Her experience in government has provided her with a clear understanding that additional healthcare providers are needed when creating and implementing health policies. Amalia plans to use her unique provider experience to not only impact her patient's lives on an individual level, but she also hopes to influence systemic healthcare change that will improve access to quality and affordable healthcare for all individuals.
Florida International University
A Mexican-American, daughter of farmworkers, and first generation college student, Wendy is completing a Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies and majoring in Political Science. She is planning to pursue a Masters Degree in Educational Policy Studies with a focus on an effective education reform that narrows the gap of educational attainment and underachievement for underprivileged minority students. While keeping up with her academic demands, she has been involved as a member, mentor, and tutor at the Student Support Services (SSS) in FIU and MDC. In addition, she has organized community service projects with Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and leadership programs, such as Miami Dade College Developing Aspiring Leaders to Engage (MDC DÁLE!) to provide educational opportunities for other students. Also, Wendy has been active in We Count, a group that addresses social justice and immigration issues, serving on the board of directors and as youth leader. In addition, she has completed internships with several organizations such as, Highlander’s Seeds of Fire Program, We Count, and the Harvard Latino Leadership Initiative Program. Wendy hopes to not only to help provide an education to future students, but to inspire them to view their own possibilities for leadership and professional accomplishments as limitless.
University of Alabama
Dana is a University Fellow at The University of Alabama, where he majors in English, minors in Mandarin, and constantly ponders how language and storytelling can be leveraged to build political power for marginalized people. He has served as a White House intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence, worked as a Vote Everywhere Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, conducted research as a Presidential Fellow at The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and studied in China through the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship. Most meaningfully, he has had the opportunity to work with more than 200 incredible high school students across western Alabama as the founder and director of Outlet—a program that uses the study, production, and performance of poetry as a vehicle for empowering youth and developing literacy skills. Dana plans to earn an MPP with a specialization in social policy to prepare him for a career combatting poverty in the Deep South—a journey he will begin this summer as a PPIA Fellow at Princeton University’s Junior Summer Institute.
Brigham Young University
Soren, an Idaho native, is studying political science and economics. After his freshman year of college, he moved to Guatemala for two years to serve as a volunteer missionary for the LDS Church. Having returned, Soren now leads several campus and community organizations, including the Political Affairs Society, Sigma (an undergraduate research journal), and the local chapter of the bipartisan non-profit group No Labels. Soren has an extensive background in research, working for BYU’s Political Economy and Development Lab, the Provo City Council, and the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. He plans to pursue a joint JD/PhD program in political science and constitutional law, working to improve American democratic institutions at the intersection of government and law. In his free time, Soren loves spending time in the mountains as an avid hiker and rock climber.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Recognizing her desire to be part of a diverse and inclusive community, Zoie moved from her small farm town to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her passion for inclusion and cultural responsiveness plays a role in her work throughout Chicago as she manages a non-profit chapter on her campus that teaches comprehensive health education throughout Chicago Public Schools to students that otherwise wouldn’t have access. As a biology major with minor concentrations in Spanish and chemistry, Zoie intends to pursue a career as a teaching physician. Her goals are to work alongside an underserved community to eliminate barriers to healthcare and education, while also teaching medical students about the importance of cultural responsiveness and humility. Outside of her work in health education, Zoie takes dance classes, paints, travels abroad doing service work, and also works with those experiencing homelessness to create a sense of community within the South Loop.
University of Notre Dame
Grace is a junior philosophy major and PPE (philosophy, politics, and economics) minor at the University of Notre Dame. Grace is the co-president of College Democrats and the Student Government University Policy Liaison. Grace serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Head of Legal Services for JIFFI, a large student-run non-profit that issues microloans and teaches financial literacy in the Michiana community. Grace is also the Director of Communications for Education Bridge, a non-profit focused on rebuilding the Jonglei State in South Sudan through education. Her main focus in college has been studying and improving university policies related to Title IX compliance, insurance equity, and disability services. Grace has researched social capital and democracy-building exercises as a research assistant for the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. She has written for Time Magazine, the Daily Beast, and other publications.
Claremont McKenna College
As one of two Muslims in a small Iowa community, Umar has had to serve as a religious and cultural ambassador throughout his life. Over time, Umar began to notice not just a gap in people's understanding of Islam, but a dearth of Muslims the public eye. He hopes to help bridge both of those gaps by working in public service. He intends to do international work, using his Arabic knowledge to understand the impact U.S. policies have on people across the Middle East and reshape the image of the U.S. abroad.
University of Arkansas
Raised in Kansas City, Danielle is pursuing an undergraduate degree in civil engineering with a minor in Spanish. Passionate about bringing clean water to those in need, she plans to earn a master's degree in water resources and environmental engineering. She has developed potable water systems in Ecuador's indigenous villages, evaluated rainwater catchment systems in Vietnam, and currently researches water purification methods for natural disaster relief in developing urban areas. Her interest in fluid dynamics has stretched past Earth: she also researches the viscosity of liquids on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Danielle is on the executive board of the Arkansas student chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Chi Epsilon, an honors society. In her spare time, she volunteers as an art teacher for Spanish-speaking elementary students and enjoys running, photography, and reading.
University of Louisville
Hannah is a McConnell Scholar and has three majors: political science, philosophy, and women’s and gender studies. Her areas of interest include LGBTQ rights and women’s equality in politics. Building off the work she has done with Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign, Hannah’s policy proposal focuses on adoption rights of LBGTQ individuals. She hopes to continue her studies at the University of California Berkeley in the joint JD/PhD program.
Louisiana State University
Chauncey is a native of Gonzales, Louisiana, studying elementary grades education. As a Louisiana Service and Leadership Scholar in the Ogden Honors College, Chauncey has committed to working towards sustainable solutions that address poverty and coastal wetlands loss in the Pelican State. In particular, Chauncey is passionate about promoting access to equitable public education as a means of building capacity within communities. Throughout Chauncey’s collegiate career, service has been at the heart of her involvement allowing her to serve local, state, and international communities. She hopes to continue this service by pursuing a career in public education and social work that advocates for the needs of low-income communities.
Cecil is a black biracial Mainer studying at Vassar College. He majors in political science and hopes to obtain a secondary teaching certification in social studies. He hopes to reclaim the teaching profession as one of public service and reclaim public education as a site for equity of opportunity and progress. His life and politics are largely informed by his two parents: one, a special education educator and beautiful mother; the other, a music teacher and the son of an immigrant and an African-American. They, along with his Vassar studies, have developed Cecil's progressive, intersectional political activism. He has worked full-time for the Maine Democratic Party and interned for Congress, the American Federation of Teachers, and in Boston Public Schools. In his free time, he can be found debating political theory, playing ultimate frisbee, or listening to music. He is also Treasurer of Vassar's Multiracial & Biracial Students Association. He hopes to obtain dual degrees in teaching and in public administration.
University of Pittsburgh
Lia is a junior studying neuroscience, economics, and international and area studies with a focus on health economics and macro-level health policy. Lia has conducted research in Malawi concerning the cost-effectiveness of health information management systems and has served as a student researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where she used cutting-edge technology to identify risk factors of cardiovascular disease. She has produced primary author publications in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In her role as a student government board member at the University of Pittsburgh, Lia serves on a board which oversees a budget of $2.5 million in student activities fees and represents the undergraduate student interest in Harrisburg and Washington, DC. Lia also serves as a student representative on the Chancellor’s Strategic Plan to Advance Educational Excellence, the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Academic Affairs and the Provost’s Committee for the Year of Humanities. After graduation, Lia hopes to pursue a dual career in medicine and health policy.
Kali is a sociology major with concentrations in Africana studies and prison studies at Vassar College. She plans to pursue a PhD in sociology. Her scholarship will specifically focus on how incarcerated Black women and incarcerated Black queer women resist their presentation as socially dead persons through historic movement building, art, language, and cross-community dialogue. She plans to use this research to inform her advocacy for prison reform. Kali runs the Vassar Prison Intiative, and is a member of the national Student Alliance for Prison Reform. She organizes in Poughkeepsie around issues of prisoner abuse and prison expansion. Originally from Baltimore, Kali recognizes that interlocking systems of oppression dictate the realities of our society, and she is committed to disrupting them.
Trinity College [CT]
Margaret is a double major in urban studies and human rights at Trinity College, and concentrates her academic coursework on issues pertaining to at-risk urban youth development and juvenile justice and incarceration. Working full-time as a youth development specialist at Our Piece of the Pie, a nonprofit youth development organization in the city of Hartford, Margaret mentors youth between the ages of 14 and 24 who are in foster care or involved with the juvenile court system, and organizes programs and services to help them pursue their education and locate stable employment, while avoiding the dangers of Hartford's unstable neighborhoods. Margaret also serves as a student leader of Trinity College's "New Beginnings" program, which is a collaboration between students and women reentering the community after serving prison sentences at York Correctional Institution. Margaret has also traveled to southern India as a volunteer for Crossover Scholars Academy, a nonprofit organization inspiring girls from urban slums to pursue educational opportunities, and volunteered as a tutor and mentor for students in the Hartford Public School system. Additionally, Margaret competed on the Trinity College women's varsity basketball team for two seasons, and serves as a mentor to freshman students interested in pursuing the opportunities of Trinity's Community Learning Initiative.
Briana is from metropolitan Detroit and is passionate about class privilege, racial disparities and education inequality. At Princeton, Briana is a Sociology major with minors in African American studies, American studies, and Spanish language and culture. She has been heavily involved in creating safe spaces and advocating for minority students on campus through leadership in affinity groups, educational programming, organized peaceful protests and meetings with administration to further institutional change. She has interned with a student development non-profit in Chicago and led multiple service trips to New York City schools to work with students on college applications. She hopes to earn a master's degree in social service administration and pursue a career working with non-profits and NGOs that focus on youth empowerment and development.
United States Naval Academy
Erik is a proud Minnesotan currently pursuing a major in quantitative economics with a minor in Chinese from the United States Naval Academy. He is passionate about China and its economic relationship with the United States, and he hopes to pursue graduate education in China to further expand his language and cultural skills. Following his naval service, which he plans to fulfill as a submarine officer, Erik hopes to become involved in public finance issues between the United States and China. At the Naval Academy, Erik is involved with the STEM Center and Midshipmen Action Group organizations and participates in intramural athletics. In his free time, Erik is typically found tinkering with his fantasy sports teams, watching sports, working out, or reading.
Mississippi State University
Natalie is an English and sociology double major at Mississippi State University. She is a Presidential Endowed Scholar at her school and is a member of the Shackouls Honors College. Natalie is the founder of the Shackouls Honors College Diversity Initiative, which was established to promote diversity and inclusion within the Shackouls Honors College, and is also a member of MSU's student government, where she serves on the executive council as the director of programming. She currently serves as programming coordinator for the Mississippi State University and Harvard University's Delta Project and mentors young girls in her spare time. Natalie is passionate about dismantling systematic injustice and plans to dedicate her life to empowering underrepresented and marginalized communities. Her post-graduate goals include receiving a juris doctorate and a master's degree in public policy.
University of Missouri
Maria is a proud Midwesterner with a mile-long last name. She is a double-major at the University of Missouri, studying agricultural economics and science, as well as agricultural journalism. As a researcher, Maria focuses on the effects of science media bias on consumers and agricultural producers. She has written for nearly ten publications as a science journalist, including reporting on insect and pest research in Costa Rica. Through her management of Universities Fighting World Hunger, International Association of Students in Agriculture and Related Sciences, and Agricultural Communicators, Maria has helped lead students to combat issues of food security on Mizzou's campus and abroad. She plans to pursue graduate work in agricultural economics before helping to shape food aid policies and promote agricultural technologies through a career with the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service.
Montana State University-Bozeman
Levi is a fourth generation Montanan and first generation college student. He is majoring in secondary education with a social studies broadfield concentration, and he is enrolled in the Honors College at Montana State University. He is an active leader in the campus community in his third year with student government. He currently represents over fifteen thousand students as the president of the Associated Students of Montana State University. In the last two summers, he has traveled to Morocco and the United Kingdom in study abroad programs. He intends on pursuing graduate degrees in education policy with the goal of reforming the K-12 public school system as an educator and policy mover in Montana. In his free time, Levi enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, hunting, fishing, and skiing.
University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Hannah is a secondary education and English student from Las Vegas, Nevada. She is currently student teaching in one of the most underperforming urban school districts in the country and teaching free writing workshops to high-needs students. Hannah plans to teach abroad and in her home district before studying educational systems and policy, and one day she hopes to train prospective teachers in a college of education.
Sean is a political science major at Yale University. He is also a graduate of County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey. He is a Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholar and a Yale Law School Liman Summer Fellow. At Yale, he serves on the board of the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project as head of men’s mentoring. Sean was homeless from the ages 18-21 and during that time, he discovered a trajectory to self-sufficiency and a deep commitment to service. It is his hope to serve homeless and reentering populations by creating and refining programs that offer much needed resources for success.
Jessica studies international relations and economics at Boston University, with a focus on sustainable development in Latin America. She conducted research on the perceived clash between the natural environment and impoverished communities as a Boren Scholar in Brazil, interned for the Political Office of the U.S. Embassy in Peru, and helped found a community of student groups dedicated to global development at BU. She spent a year as Assistant Program Director of Debate Mate USA, a nonprofit that supports debate education in low-income Boston schools, and a summer working with bilingual programming for a Spanish-speaking business network in Albuquerque. Jessica plans to work in global development policy, where she hopes to address global poverty by prioritizing local voices and rigorous research.
State University of New York-Buffalo
Madelaine studies environmental design and political science at the University at Buffalo. Having grown up in Rochester, New York and now studying city planning in Buffalo, she's witnessed the impact top-down planning can have on communities and is passionate about Rust Belt cities retaining affordable, high-quality housing during periods of economic development. She is the cofounder of the University Heights Community Laboratory, an organization that provides free classes to community members on subjects including tenant rights and home repair. She is a lover of trees and a ReTree the District Team Leader where she helps plant over 150 trees each semester in the Heights neighborhood. She also is an elected board member of her neighborhood association. Madelaine intends to earn a dual graduate degree in urban planning and law.
Bianca is a Kluge Scholar and political science major with a deep interest in education access and reform. As an intern at City in the Community in East Harlem and then in Manchester, England, she used soccer programs to keep disadvantaged youth on track academically. On campus, she works closely with peers and faculty members to hold Columbia administrators accountable to the needs of low-income minority students. In her spare time, Bianca runs a personal blog (meetbianca.wordpress.com) where she reflects on her relationships with family, friends, and mentors.
Daniel is a Brooklyn native deeply engaged in anti-carceral advocacy and education. He has taught classes in New Jersey state prisons, led anti-solitary confinement advocacy campaigns, and worked as an investigator for Brooklyn Defender Services, an indigent defense office. A comparative literature major, he focuses on Arabic and Hebrew literature, and spent his freshman summer living and studying in Amman, Jordan. He hopes to affect cultural and political change through his writing. At Princeton, Daniel is an editor of the Princeton Progressive, a political magazine, and serves as a freelance editor and guest contributor to BloggingHeadsTV, a website that seeks to foster productive discourse between journalists and thinkers of differing ideologies.
Logan is pursuing a self-designed course of study on the systems that impact child development. She is an active volunteer in Durham hospitals and schools, and helps promote service at Duke as the Community Service Director for a first year pre-orientation program and by co-teaching a course on service and mentorship. She designed a special education program at Plantersville Summer Academy, and is currently working with Primeros Pasos to ensure continued funding for health education in Guatemala. Logan plans to pursue both a master’s in education and a medical doctorate with a specialization in pediatrics. Her passion is ensuring that all children have the opportunity to maximize their potential, and she plans to advocate for policies that spark the necessary collaboration between social, medical, and educational systems to accomplish this goal.
University of North Dakota
Jed is studying political science and public administration at the University of North Dakota. In addition to his studies, Jed works for Gate City Bank, judges speech meets, and volunteers for many electoral causes. He is the executive director and former communications director of College Democrats of North Dakota, past technical adviser of Fill The Dome Youth-Led Food Drive, and a former field organizer for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. Despite growing up on a farmstead, Jed has a strong passion for urban affairs and transportation policy. He plans to pursue a master's of city or urban planning and dedicate his career to expansion of rapid transit systems and transit-oriented development.
Allyson is a junior at Howard University studying political science and community development. At age 18, she was elected to serve as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the District of Columbia, making her the youngest elected official in the history of the nation’s capital. In addition to elected office, Allyson serves as the Ambassador for BET’s digital campaign, What’s At Stake. Allyson has been profiled by MSNBC as a rising star in politics and featured in The Root’s 25 Under 25: Young Futurist list. Upon completing her term, Allyson began studying government and foreign policy at the University of Oxford as a Luard Morse Scholar. She intends to pursue higher office.
University of Oklahoma
Set to graduate with honors in 2017, Jeremy is an economics, environmental sustainability, and Chinese major at the University of Oklahoma. A Critical Languages Scholar and Boren Scholar spending a year in Beijing, China, Jeremy is interested in the nexus of climate change, agriculture, and China’s development. Jeremy has previously interned at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, and at Oklahoma he is an active member of the Student Government Association and the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth. After graduation, Jeremy plans to attend law school and work on issues surrounding environmental justice.
Born and raised in the urban heart of Portland, Oregon, JT is a junior double majoring in global affairs and ethnicity, race & migration at Yale University. He is the founder and president of A Leg Even, a nonprofit organization geared towards facilitating the academic and professional success of lower-income college freshmen at Yale. Over his three years at Yale, JT has had the opportunity to study and research in six different countries, where he has worked on topics ranging from international governance to refugee rights and urban education reform. His studies are centered around the intersectional impacts of culture, class, and institutions on effective policymaking and integrative social change, with a focus on increasing access to opportunity and socio-economic mobility in under-resourced environments.
Wake Forest University
Sarah is a junior economics major with minors in chemistry and health policy and administration. Prior to her transition into policy research, she conducted biomedical research on the bioelectric control mechanisms governing spinal cord regeneration in salamanders and interned at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Sarah has developed a passion for public health by directing the Roosevelt Healthcare Think Tank, evaluating the effectiveness of U.N. child and maternal health programs while working for a South African think tank, and volunteering at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Her current research explores racial disparities in healthcare and the implications of the Affordable Care Act for particular populations. She intends to blend her love of the biomedical sciences and public policy by pursuing a career in healthcare policy following medical school.
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
Alejandra is a fourth year journalism student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. As a member of the Honors Program, she has been working on a thesis on cultural representations in the newspaper El Nuevo Día. In 2015, she interned at the U.S. Capitol for the office of the New York Representative Kathleen Rice and studied multicultural relations. As a result, she formed a well-informed perspective about what it means to be a Latino in the U.S. and decided to focus her academic and professional career to acquire the necessary skills to positively impact this community. Alejandra wants enhance the Latino immigrant experience by producing new knowledge to prevent racism and xenophobia between immigrant minorities. Also, as part of her experience in the District of Columbia, she developed the Collective Theater Boal, a group that works with students' needs in high schools. Because of her proposal, Alejandra received the 2015 New York Comité Noviembre Scholarship, recognition provided by cultural institutions to recognize leaders who have a transformative role in their communities.
University of South Carolina-Columbia
Jory is a geography and marine science double major with a minor in geophysics focused on geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping as a method of understanding the ocean. As a NOAA Hollings and USGIF Scholar he has engaged in research projects at USC’s Marine Science Program and Department of Geography, GIS internships with the National Guard and private consultants, and is an advocate for literacy and science education. His challenges due to disabilities inspired him to help start a service organization for student volunteers to train service dogs such as his own, Daisy. Jory’s experiences have fueled his desire to pursue a PhD in oceanography and a master's in marine affairs, studying the nexus of science and policy in order to deepen people’s connection to the oceans and protect U.S. interests at sea. In his spare time, enjoys birdwatching, video games, hiking, philosophy, and poetry.
University of South Dakota
Growing up on a family-run farm, Josh developed an interest in the way in which humans interact with their environments. After studying climate change at the University of Exeter through a Fulbright Summer Institute, his environmental interests evolved to include the impacts of climate change on agricultural communities. He has since conducted research with applications in renewable energies at his home university and the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry at Oregon State University. He intends to complete his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics by May 2017, and then to pursue a joint-degree program in environmental studies and public policy.
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Vaughn, a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe member, is studying industrial engineering and engineering management. Upon graduation, he will pursue a master’s in urban and regional planning and a juris doctorate to conduct government-to-government mediation and facilitate economic development to tribal nations. Vaughn currently works for the Rapid City Police Department as the first-ever Cultural Advisory Coordinator and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) program. He has worked for the National Science Foundation Program Evaluation and Assessment Office of the Engineering Directorate where he was assigned to the Civil Infrastructure Systems program, and he was recruited by Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program.
Brooks is a history major and political science minor from Chapel Hill, Tennessee. Raised on a small family farm, Brooks began to cultivate a passion for conserving farmland and saving natural spaces at a young age. Through internships with the Land Trust for Tennessee and Overton Park Conservancy, where he is currently writing a book that details the Memphis park’s rich history through personal perspectives, Brooks has nurtured and strengthened his commitment to land ethics. Seeing firsthand the impact that law and policy can have in protecting land, he plans to pursue a JD in order to best serve the people and places that have helped shape him. Beyond his dedication to natural spaces and farmland, Brooks also serves on the Rhodes Honor Council, leads Special Olympics athletes in weekly activities, and acts as a research assistant for his professor’s newest book on American constitutional history.
A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Anjali is majoring in health sciences and policy studies with a passion to reduce global health disparities. Anjali is a State Farm Youth Advisory Board Member, a Rice Distinguished Trustee awardee and a National Coca-Cola Scholar. Through her work at the Baker Institute for Public Policy and as founder and president of END7 at Rice, Anjali advocates for policies that can reduce the global burden of disease caused by neglected tropical diseases. A Rice-Baylor Medical Scholar, Anjali plans on pursuing a MD/MPH dual degree to use policy measures to improve access to healthcare.
George Washington University
A proud Sugar Land native, Karim studies international affairs and conflict resolution. Over the past three years, he has served as an intern at the American Red Cross, Alliance for Peacebuilding, USAID Office of Inspector General, White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Department of State Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. He has also conducted comparative human rights research on refugee family reunification in Chile, Jordan, and Nepal. Karim is a Civic Fellow for the International Leadership Foundation and founder of the youth-led Global Issues Summit. After graduation, he plans to obtain a JD/MPP degree to pursue a career in public service.
University of Texas
Zoraima is a first generation American and college student studying humanities with a concentration in public policy, communication advocacy, and women’s rights at the University of Texas at Austin. After a successful career as a hair and makeup artist, she returned to college to pursue her passion for public service. She has worked on statewide electoral campaigns with Battleground Texas and is currently the U.T. Austin student chapter president of the Texas Freedom Network, where she is also an outreach intern and activist focusing on issues of LGBTQ equality, reproductive justice, and voting rights. Her passions include dancing, community organizing and volunteering, as well as spending time with her 6-year-old Chihuahua named Mami. Zoraima plans to pursue a JD as well as a master's in public policy with a women's studies concentration to continue her work as an advocate for reproductive justice.
Utah State University
Madelyn is majoring in economics and political science with a particular interest in judicial politics. President-elect of USU’s prestigious Huntsman Scholar Program, she has embodied the program’s pillars of academic excellence, ethical leadership, and service throughout her time as an undergraduate. Madelyn is passionately involved in law and courts research and has presented papers at several professional conferences. In addition to Huntsman Scholars, Madelyn serves as a Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Ambassador involved in high school student recruitment. These efforts complement her service in the community, where she works to help local students get to college by providing free ACT test prep, FAFSA guidance, and mentorship. Her fervent belief in equal opportunity in education coupled with her interest in law has shaped her future plans—she intends to get a juris doctor and specialize in education law. Madelyn enjoys travel, Diet Coke, and all things SCOTUS.
College of the Holy Cross
Victoria studies psychology, deaf studies, and women's studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. While at school she enjoys leading college-wide discussions about women's issues, socializing with her deaf friends, and volunteering at a local deaf elementary school. Motivated by her passion for language and science, she aims to become a specialist in the field of cognitive neuroscience with a focus on language acquisition. Victoria hopes to use her research to inform current education policy and develop programs to advocate for deaf and hard of hearing children around the world.
Teddy is an international studies major with a passion for intercultural understanding and conflict resolution. His experience in Army ROTC has taken him to Morocco, France, Italy, and Tanzania to further his understanding of how foreign governments and the military can work together. He hopes to one day contribute to U.S. foreign policy by building bridges between the U.S. military and our partners abroad.
University of Virginia
A material science and nanotechnology engineer with a minor in engineering business, Jill makes it her life's work to help establish and implement the policies that promote solar energy as a major part of the solution to get greenhouse gas emissions under control and atmospheric carbon levels to sustainable, healthy levels. She feels called to help solve one of her generation's most pressing problems by using her understanding of solar energy and nanotechnology to make solar cells more energy efficient and affordable. She is involved in a number of research projects, volunteers in K-12 STEM outreach, helps organize the first annual National Student Leader Nanotechnology Conference, and has spoken at The White House, where she highlighted the importance of experiential education. Jill's goal is to study technology policy and material science at MIT and work in the field of solar energy policy.
Asma was born in Nairobi, Kenya and currently studies political science and Arabic at Swarthmore College where she is also an active leader of the Muslim Students Association. She has studied Arabic in Morocco, Oman, and Jordan and hopes to work with refugee populations in the region while improving relations between American citizens and the Middle East. As a freshman, Asma volunteered in Iran for two months working to set up independent English programs for rural and impoverished communities and using language learning as a tool to build cultural understanding between Iranians and Americans. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in public policy and international affairs with a focus on refugee policy and humanitarian aid.
Katelyn is a ninth generation West Virginian hailing from just outside of Charleston. She is an activist, advocate, and writer involved in Appalachian economic development, LGBQT+ inclusion, and women's health issues, and regularly makes the twelve hour drive home to confront injustice in person. A junior at Wellesley College, Katelyn is on track to complete a major in American studies with a concentration in history. When not on the road or in the classroom, she is an active member of Wellesley College Government and a sexual health educator. Following completion of her undergraduate degree, Katelyn plans to return to West Virginia to work in community development and reproductive health advocacy.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Deshawn is a third year student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a degree in creative writing with a certificate in African-American studies. Hailing from the Northside of Milwaukee, his work focuses on the liberation of all intersections of Black people and their identities, and building coalition across peoples and movements to create sustainable, proactive, and effective bases of power. He currently sits on the board of directors for the United States Student Association, the country’s oldest, largest, and most inclusive national student-led organization, which focuses on mobilizing grassroots power to win concrete victories on student issues. In addition, he sits on the Title IX Advisory Board at UW-Madison, working to bring the university in line with federal regulation surrounding sexual assault. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing, traveling the world and, as a performance artist on a hip-hop arts scholarship through the First Wave program, he also enjoys performing around the nation and teaching artistic disciplines in the Madison Metropolitan School District.