Congratulations to the 2017 Truman Scholars! In 2017, we selected 62 (sixty-two) outstanding college students as Truman Scholars. Read more about them in our Press Release
The Foundation reviewed 768 files from 315 institutions. Students were selected based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement. Our Finalist Selection Committee selected 199 students from 136 institutions to interviewed with the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels between March 3rd and April 7th. The 2017 Truman Scholarship Finalists can be found here.
University of Louisville
Jud is a third-year political science major at the University of Louisville with minors in Spanish and aerospace studies. A third-generation service-member, he is in the Air Force ROTC cadet wing, where he currently serves as the public affairs officer, and recently served as a flight commander. He is also the Director of Communications for the University of Louisville Student Government Association. In the future, he hopes to pursue a JD from Georgetown University with a concentration in legislative studies and national security policy. He takes an interest in political participation and advocacy, including voter enfranchisement. Upon graduation, he intends to pursue law school and then serve as a Judge’s Advocate General officer, working in prosecution, ethics law, and legislation.
Mussab Ali is a first-generation Muslim-American studying at Rutgers University-Newark, with majors in neurobiology and economics as well as minors in Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies and chemistry. A loyal son of Jersey City, Mussab is already working to address such issues as youth homelessness, urban education, criminal justice reform, and discrimination against minorities in his home state. He has participated in research at the New Jersey Medical School, using pre-natal cortical cell-stretching to simulate concussions and has worked at SMC Digital Marketing as a client manager. Mussab plans on pursuing an MD/MSHP, and, in the future, he hopes to help legislators and doctors craft innovative policies to improve healthcare access and quality in the United States
University of Arkansas
Ryann Alonso is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and currently attends the University of Arkansas to study political science and communications. Growing up doing policy debate, Ryann became interested in the way people discuss governmental actions. She spends her time on campus with the Young Democrats, Associated Student Government, and at various organizational events registering voters. She registered more than 500 students to vote during the 2016 election cycle, and is Vice Chair of Volunteers and Voter protection within a county political organization. Upon graduation, she hopes to get her JD and continue nonprofit voter advocacy work.
Yesenia Ayala is a third-year Posse Scholar from Los Angeles double-majoring in sociology and Spanish with a Latin American studies concentration at Grinnell College. Throughout her college career, she has engaged students around education-inequity issues in the United States through her work as a service-learning work study student and a Student Government Association cabinet member. Yesenia has worked with Al Éxito (“to success”) in Iowa, inspiring Latino youth to cross barriers beyond their socioeconomic barriers, and with underrepresented low-income youth with Breakthrough New York. Yesenia hopes to continue her studies upon graduating from Grinnell and ultimately influence education policy, ensuring underrepresented voices are heard and that public policy benefits all students in our nation.
Noah is a triple major in economics, mathematics, and philosophy at Millsaps College. He currently serves as Student Body President and works toward creating an inclusive environment on campus where every student, faculty, and staff member feel like they belong. His research focuses on wealth inequality and its far-reaching effects in the United States. He is particularly passionate about identifying and rectifying economic conditions in Mississippi that keep people out of the workforce. One of Noah's most meaningful experiences came from his weekly tutoring of students at one of the poorest elementary schools in Mississippi. After Millsaps, Noah plans to pursue a PhD in Economics. He aspires to work for various government agencies as an economist and as a manager.
District of Columbia
Dontae is a junior at Howard University studying economics and military science. He is a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. and was selected as a pilot candidate this spring. Dontae is passionate about empowering marginalized racial and ethnic communities and is particularly interested in understanding the intersection of cultural diversity and American national security. In addition to fulfilling his military obligations, he has actively engaged his local and collegiate community as a student leader, political activist, and congressional staffer. In accordance with Howard University’s motto, “Truth and Service,” Dontae is equally a scholar and a public servant. His research interests examine race and economic inequality in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States. After graduation, Dontae will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Eventually, he hopes to earn an MPA before pursuing a lifelong career in public service.
University of Notre Dame
Rebecca is a political science major and peace studies minor. She currently serves as Student Body Vice President and was fortunate enough to be elected President in January. In Student Government, Rebecca’s work focuses on: sexual assault prevention and resources; Title IX policy; health and wellness resources on campus; and building the South Bend-Notre Dame relationship through economic and cultural community partnerships. After battling a rare genetic blood disorder, Rebecca has taken her personal experience to advocating for Be The Match, the national bone marrow registry. Additionally, Rebecca has traveled to Sri Lanka to research sustainable solutions to the human-elephant conflict, India to study religion, and China to test a program that integrates creativity into English language curriculums. This March, Rebecca will go to Notre Dame University Bangladesh to work with their students in establishing a student government. Rebecca is passionate about constitutional studies and international law, and she is committed to applying those unique interest lenses to her work in improving policy on campus and beyond.
University of Missouri
Taylor is a junior political science and international studies major with a minor in Middle East studies. She also studies the Arabic language and was awarded the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Madaba, Jordan for the summer of 2016. On campus, she is a University of Missouri track and field student-athlete, a Senator in the Missouri Students Association, the Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Elections Commissioners, and an appointed member on the Chancellor's Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. She is also a member of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women, and the Mizzou Arabic Language Learners Club. A previous legislative aide in the Kansas City Council and current legislative intern with the Missouri State Senate, she hopes to build the bridge between policy-making and regional expertise for better U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East-North Africa region. Upon graduation, she hopes to fulfill a two-year assignment in the Peace Corps and then pursue a dual MA/JD program in Contemporary Arab Studies and National Security Law.
Colorado State University
Francis is pursuing degrees in fish, wildlife, and conservation biology as well as biological science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His passion for birds has led him to co-found CSU Field Ornithologists, a student organization focused on promoting an appreciation of birding and an understanding of avian ecology and conservation. He has volunteered much of his time toward citizen science projects to study and conserve birds and their habitats in Colorado. He has combined his passions for ecology and the Mandarin language to begin a transformative involvement in Yunnan Province, China, where he has completed an SIT Study Abroad independent research project on the potential for ethnic minority farmers’ local knowledge to inform an ecological restoration experiment as well as an independent project on the social factors that influence both legal and illegal wildlife exploitation in a case study community. He aspires to reduce unsustainable hunting of tropical wildlife through outreach programs targeting social-psychological principles of behavioral change, and he believes that biodiversity conservation must center around a deep understanding of the human communities involved.
University of Pennsylvania
Sarah is a proud Philadelphian pursuing a degree in political science with minors in urban education policy and Spanish. She has experienced firsthand the inequality that plagues our education system, and believes such inequality to be dangerous for democracy. She is dedicated to doing her part to ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality educational opportunities. Sarah conducted research on school partnerships while interning for the School District of Philadelphia and worked to implement college and career readiness programming in Philadelphia´s Promise Zone as a Mayor´s Intern in the City of Philadelphia´s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. In addition, she served as co-president of the Penn Education Society, an undergraduate group committed to fostering dialogue and increasing awareness and advocacy around education policy on campus, and has been volunteering in schools for many years, most recently through the Community School Student Partnership.
Anna DeLoi is a former aspiring classical harpist turned community organizer. After twelve years of homeschooling, she is currently a music and psychology double major at Williams College. As a harpist, she has soloed with symphony orchestras and on national television and radio, including on NPR's From the Top. She was a 2014 Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performed in the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. But her favorite moments as a musician by far have been in public school music classrooms, music education nonprofits, and community arts organizations. At Williams, Anna founded and directs her own community arts initiative called Ephs Out Loud, which serves hundreds of individuals each year through school programs, workshops, and collaborative performance events. She feels strongly that there is nothing more powerful than strengthening and celebrating communities, and that art is the most natural way to do that. She enjoys ballroom dancing, exploring big cities and big mountains, and hanging out in elementary schools.
Eleanore is a sociology student from Billings, MT. As the Program Coordinator for Reed College’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, Eleanore provides peer advocacy, manages a live campus support line, and directs educational programming and events around sexual assault prevention. Eleanore is also the Community Rights Chair of Reed College Honor Council, a role that includes representing harmed communities in the campus judicial process and mediating individual conflicts. Her experience working as an advocate, community representative, and mediator led Eleanore to co-found the Reed Restorative Justice Coalition, a team of students and administration members that seeks to create and integrate restorative policies and practices on campus. She is a primary author of a proposed restorative Title IX policy. In addition to her work on campus, Eleanore has volunteered extensively in both the Portland and Billings communities, with a focus on working with children and families in the areas of education, houselessness, and domestic violence response. Following the completion of her BA, Eleanore plans to spend a year in Japan, expanding on her previous experience studying abroad in Tokyo. She then plans to attend law school, and will focus her energy on advocating for families and creating restorative policies within the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
University of Illinois
Thomas is majoring in both political science and history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has dedicated himself to restoring a culture of civic engagement in the American political system and local electoral politics. As a student, Thomas has conducted research on civic engagement in local and state elections, and on union political participation. He is a James Scholar, Public Engagement Fellow, Civic Leadership Fellow, Hertog Fellow, Fulbright participant, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He served as Deputy Chief of Staff to State Representative Carol Ammons and interned for the AFL-CIO, the Sanders 2016 campaign, and the Center for American Progress. He is the co-founder and CEO of YOUTHink Politics, a 501(c)4 status nonprofit dedicated to engaging high school students in local government. Outside of his work in politics, Thomas can be found bragging about his home city, Chicago, powerlifting, and reading historical nonfiction.
A Robertson Scholar at Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Maya combines academic interests in economic development and poverty alleviation with a wide array of experiences in research, service, and politics. During a gap year in New Mexico, she served as policy director for a successful statewide political campaign, worked as an analyst for the State Senate, and interned with a local think tank. Since then, service and research projects have taken her from a classroom in Sunflower, MS, to a public health lab in Guangzhou, China. Maya is currently co-leading two behavioral economics experiments on HIV test uptake and coordinating the development of a working paper series on social policy. She serves as an editor of the Duke Political Review, sits on the board of the Duke Partnership for Service, and is active in the local crisis intervention center. An economics major, with a math minor and politics, philosophy, and economics certificate, she intends to pursue graduate work in economics.
University of Cincinnati
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Mohamed studies neurobiology and public health as a Cincinnatus Excellence Scholar at the University of Cincinnati. He is passionate about addressing barriers to care and expanding healthcare access through grassroots efforts and policy development. Inspired by his experience interning at a Federally Qualified Health Center in an underserved Cincinnati neighborhood, Mohamed has conducted research on expanding mental healthcare access among Spanish-speaking patients in his city. As a leader in Student Government, he has also developed new mental health curriculum for freshman students, and has created and led the Mental Health Ambassadors – a peer support system for mental health within each college at his university. Mohamed is an active advocate for global health equity as part of the University of Cincinnati chapter of GlobeMed, with which he has served as the Director of Advocacy and the Grassroots Internship Coordinator. After graduation, Mohamed hopes to fight health inequities by pursuing a career as a physician and health policy researcher.
West Texas A&M University
After spending eight years in the United States Army, Jonathan began his educational career anew in his home state of Texas. After spending two years at Amarillo College, he transferred to West Texas A&M University where he was named a McNair Scholar in 2016, focusing his undergraduate research on compassion and the LGBTQ community. He has two majors: broadcast journalism and advertising public relations, and a minor in communication studies. He hopes to attend UC Berkeley and pursue concurrent degrees, earning an MJ and JD in order to one day work as an advocate focusing on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth. Jonathan is co-editor of the university newspaper, The Prairie, and is heavily involved in Rogers LEAD WT, a co-curricular leadership development program, as well as the Veterans Network on campus.
Dakota is a double-major in political science and Asian languages/civilizations. She is passionate about foreign and defense policy with a special interest in counterterrorism and the Middle East. Dakota has interned for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where she worked on a range of issues related to U.S. national security efforts in the Middle East, including the JCPOA, combating ISIS, Iranian militias, and strategies for countering violent extremism. She is learning Arabic and has studied at the University of Jordan, volunteering with the Collateral Repair Project. At Amherst, Dakota is involved broadly in the college community. She serves on the executive board of the Amherst Political Union and as a student member of the College's Discipline Committee, in addition to working as a research assistant, leading college tours, and playing for the Amherst Women's Lacrosse Team. Dakota plans to pursue either a PhD or a joint Masters in Security Studies-JD before continuing to work on issues of national security.
Annika spent her childhood in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar, before moving to Burlington, Vermont at age 12. She majors in urban studies at Barnard College and is an Athena Leadership Scholar. She loves cities and is dedicated to working on urban social and economic justice. She has worked on drug policy and criminal justice reform as an intern at the Drug Policy Alliance and in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Leahy. She is also passionate about building leadership skills and opportunities for youth. She founded the Burlington Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council and returned to Madagascar with the support of a Davis Projects for Peace grant to create a new leadership curriculum for a dozen middle schools across the Fianarantsoa region. She hopes to apply these participatory leadership strategies to advocate for the needs of low-income communities and use urban planning to reduce inequality in cities.
Boise State University
Rachel is passionate about changing the way international governing bodies deliver aid and assist women in conflict zones. Growing up the child of humanitarian aid workers in the aftermath of the Balkan wars, she witnessed firsthand the ill effects mishandled aid can have on society and the ways in which communities struggle to recover from disaster. Since graduating high school, she has worked amongst Syrian refugees in Jordan, aided community development in Swaziland, and served in a variety of social empowerment efforts in the Balkans, Israel, Palestine, and her current hometown of Boise, Idaho. Rachel is studying economics and Arab world studies at Boise State University; her most recent independent research deals with gender-based violence in refugee camps and the Palestinian territories. She plans to earn a PhD in socio-legal studies to further explore the way in which societal norms, local and international governing bodies, and the law itself interact, specifically in the politically unstable MENA region.
University of Rhode Island
Beginning with a performance as Mother Jones at the National History Day in Washington DC at age 12, fighting for our rights has been a constant theme in Autumn’s life. During her time at the University of Rhode Island she has fought in the broader community for women’s rights with NOW, for constituents' rights in the office of Senator Jack Reed and for voting rights with the URI College Democrats; most notably she fought for a Student Bill of Rights, working with a broad coalition of student organizations and forming a vibrant Student Union to push for its passage. This year she has come full circle with an independent summer research project in Chicago on the Early Career of Mother Jones. Autumn is an Honors Program student, majoring in history and philosophy with a minor in work, labor, and social justice. She plans on studying labor law while continuing as an activist, all the while remembering the words of Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living!”
A native of Acton, MA, Samarth is a junior at Harvard College studying economics. His experiences interning for the White House Council of Economic Advisers and researching for Professor Matthew Desmond have fueled his desire to work on issues related to affordable housing. On campus, he is a captain of the Harvard College Running Club, a representative on student government, and the director of an after-school basketball program for local youth. After completing his undergraduate degree, Samarth plans to pursue a law degree.
University of Arkansas
Raised in Central Arkansas, Sam is a double-major at the University of Arkansas, pursuing an undergraduate degree in agricultural business with a concentration in pre-law and agricultural leadership. Determined to alleviate global food insecurity through international development and public policy, he plans to obtain a JD and LLM in agricultural and food law. Sam has evaluated extension services in rural India, developed farm business plans for farmers in Vietnam, and is currently preparing to lead a pilot research exchange program in Dangriga, Belize, to develop sustainable backyard poultry operations for local families. On campus, Sam serves as Vice President of the Students Organization Outreach Involvement Experience, is the Assistant Director of Sponsorship for the Student Alumni Board, and is on the Bumpers College Student Honors Board. Passionate about political engagement and activism, he is the Vice Chair for Next Generation Engagement for the local Democratic Party.
North Carolina State University
Alex Hsain studies materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University. She conducts energy harvesting research to combat our current reliance on carbon-based energy, and has a vision of converting excess energy from walking or breathing into usable electricity for portable devices. An advocate for sustainability and human development, Hsain also serves as Experiment Chair in SciBridge, where she leads her peers in developing “materials for energy” kits to be shipped to universities in Uganda and Ethiopia. She has conducted research at NASA Langley Research Center, the Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) Center at NC State, and Texas A&M University, and has presented her work at numerous conferences such as Posters on the Hill. Hsain also serves as Vice Chair of the University Scholars Program Council and Vice President of the Undergraduate Research Student Advisory Council. Her goal is to obtain a PhD in electrical materials engineering and to work to address the national security threats posed by climate change by working as a scientific advisor to policymakers.
Lexi is a third-year student at American University, where she studies law and policy. She is dedicated to supporting foster youth. As the founder and director of Junior Youth Action DC, a mentorship program focused on the academic and personal development of foster youth, Lexi works to help her students confront significant barriers outside of the classroom. By providing each child with a family of committed volunteers and community resources, Lexi has had the privilege of witnessing the academic advancement and personal growth of the program’s participants. She plans to pursue a career in child welfare law, which will allow her to advocate for children when foster care systems fail.
A native of Decatur, Georgia, Chelsea is pursuing a BA/MA in political science with a double major in African American Studies. She is a student activist and serves as an Intern for Emory University’s Commission on Racial and Social Justice. Chelsea is also a co-founder of Atlanta Black Students United, an activist network for students committed to racial justice in Metro Atlanta. Beyond racial justice on campus, she is passionate about protecting the franchise and expanding a human rights framework to the American criminal justice and immigration systems. She hopes to connect her activism to the American Legal System by pursuing a JD and practicing civil and human rights law.
A Sugar Land, Texas, native, Mishi is a political science and policy studies double major at Rice University. She spends her time at the Baker Institute for Public Policy as the President of the Student Forum and the founder of the American Association of University Women chapter at Rice. Her interests in public policy stem from her goal to promote comprehensive immigration reform that accounts for the needs of all minority groups. Mishi has previously interned at the National Diversity Council, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. By pursuing a JD/MPP after graduation, she aspires to serve the needs of immigrants and fight the model minority myth.
University of Michigan- Ann Arbor
Nadine Jawad is a first-generation student at the University of Michigan, studying public policy with a concentration in women’s health. Nadine is passionate about addressing health inequities that systematically marginalize women of disadvantaged backgrounds. She plans to pursue an MD/MPh and aspires to work as a gynecologic oncologist and in reproductive health advocacy. Nadine has served U-M student government as a representative, a senior policy adviser, and is currently a candidate for vice president of the U-M student body. She is involved in initiatives related to affordable housing, civic engagement, campus climate, and academic resource accessibility. Nadine is the co-founder of a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Books for a Benefit, which works to combat educational disadvantages faced by those in low income areas of Michigan. Nadine serves on the advisory board of the Ginsberg Center for Social Justice and Community Service; this past year she developed the Jawad Service Scholarship, which is awarded to a low-income student who exemplifies leadership in social justice work. Finally, Nadine works as a research assistant in a lab that studies HPV in the context of Head and Neck Cancer.
Anmar was born in Mosul, Iraq, and lived there until he was nine. By 2006, the Iraqi Civil War deteriorated conditions in Mosul, and he and his family were forced to migrate to Damascus, Syria, where he lived for three years. In 2009, his family gained asylum to the United States and settled in North Carolina. At Davidson College, Anmar is involved with the QuestBridge chapter and have served as the liaison where he has served as the primary point of contact between Davidson’s chapter and the QuestBridge staff, responsible for outreach and coordination with other QuestBridge chapters via their respective liaisons. He co-founded Davidson College’s first student lead organization designed for refugee support based on a partnership with a nonprofit in Charlotte called Refugee Support Services. The main purpose of the organization is to serve refugees locally and build awareness about the refugee crisis worldwide. Anmar's experiences as a refugee ignited his passion for working on refugee integration.
University of Northern Iowa
Rachael is a third-generation Iowan with a passion for serving her state. Rachael currently dedicates her time to serving as a Regent for the State of Iowa; she is only the tenth student in Iowa to serve in this capacity. Through serving on the Board of Regents, she has come to appreciate the challenges to higher education and the many multifaceted issues that affect institutions of higher education across the nation. Rachael helped to create a subcommittee for the Board of Regents that is focused on ensuring Iowa’s campuses are both safe and secure; she currently serves as the committee vice-chair. In addition to serving on the Board of Regents, Rachael is a committed volunteer. To help promote service and volunteerism across the state, she serves as a commissioner for the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service. She hopes to continue serving her state and the nation by pursuing a career in higher education, eventually working on policy reform and easing students’ transition from high school to post-secondary education.
Colorado State University
Kiloaulani is a Hawaiian, Filipino, Puerto Rican, Cuban from the rural island of Molokai, Hawaii. Growing up on an island where subsistence fishing, hunting, and farming is a way of life led Kiloaulani to pursue a degree in fish, wildlife, and conservation biology at Colorado State University. He has assumed many leadership roles with campus and community organizations, including the CSU Chapter President of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences Club as well as the lead student coordinator for the “SOMOS Rams” Leadership Program through the CSU El Centro Diversity Office focused on establishing a strong academic platform and network for first generation Latino students transitioning to a large college campus. Kiloaulani has extensive field and lab research experience in wetland conservation projects in Hawaii and Colorado and is interested in integrating a mentorship program catered toward underrepresented students with his work as a research biologist in tropical communities. After graduation, Kiloaulani plans to pursue an M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science.
Alexis is double majoring in political science and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies with minors in human rights and Spanish at Stanford University. She is passionate about the rights of girls and women in developing countries, which has led her to do research in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Spain on different women's rights issues. Last summer, she conducted independent research in Rwanda on the connection between girls’ education and gender-based violence in post-conflict societies. On campus, Alexis is a leader in Stanford in Government, Stanford's largest student group, which works to engage the student body in pursuing policy as public service. Alexis also founded the Scary Path Task Force to address campus sexual assault issues. Additionally, she leads the Women’s Leadership Initiative and serves as an International Youth Advisor to Girl Up, a UN Foundation that works to help girls in six developing countries empower themselves through leadership and education programs. Upon graduation, Alexis would like to become an international human rights lawyer.
Though born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Rachel is currently living in New York City studying political science at Barnard College. A strong belief in the power of local activism led Rachel to spend her summers investing in her community at home in Birmingham, as an intern at the district office of Congresswoman Terri Sewell and at Black Warrior Riverkeeper. She is the Vice President of the Roosevelt Institute at Columbia University, a student-run think tank, where she focuses on devising and implementing policy solutions to New York City's affordable housing crisis. She is a policy writer for the Morningside Heights Community Coalition and volunteers at several homeless shelters in her neighborhood in New York. She is also an intern at the district office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, where she works on healthcare casework.
United States Naval Academy
In 2010, David enlisted into the Marine Corps as an Infantryman where he would eventually rise to the rank of Sergeant. David left the Corps in 2014 to accept an offer of appointment to the United States Naval Academy, with aspirations to one day become an Officer in the same Corps in which he had once served. The journey that led David to where he is today started in 2005 when he was a disaster evacuee of Hurricane Rita, which left his family displaced for over two years. Experiencing life as a hurricane refugee and then as an enlisted Marine has fueled his passion to lend a hand to people who were just as hopeless as he was. If it wasn’t for the amazing people who helped him discover the one thing that he had been missing all along – confidence in himself - then he would not have been able to conquer the obstacles that he has faced throughout his life.
University of Virginia
As a Muslim woman, a feminist, and the daughter of immigrants, Attiya is a passionate advocate for gender equality, global justice, and Muslim women's rights. A Jefferson scholar at the University of Virginia, Attiya is a TEDx speaker on women's rights and the hijab, as well as a contributor to the Huffington Post. A passionate activist, Attiya is the Chair of the Minority Rights Coalition, the Chair and Founder of World Hijab Day at UVA, and the Chair of Eliminate the Hate, a campaign that she spearheaded in order to combat hate speech at UVA. This summer, Attiya is implementing a trauma-processing workshop for refugee women in Rabat, Morocco, with the help of local students from La Université Internationale De Rabat. She will also be interning at Karamah Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, an NGO in Washington, DC, and researching best legal practices for intersectional advocacy in discrimination cases against Muslim women.
The City College of New York
Growing up in an immigrant community on the outskirts of New York and studying Spanish from the age of four, Claire is passionate about serving communities of new Americans. Within the Macaulay Honors program, Claire studies political science and Jewish studies at the City College of New York, with a specific interest in migration, immigration, and refugee policy. In college, she has studied Arabic and specialized in Middle Eastern Affairs, culminating in an Arabic language program abroad in Amman, Jordan, this past winter. Last summer, Claire worked on policy and legislative research for Senator Schumer’s Washington, D.C. office. On campus, Claire runs CCNY's policy group, the Roosevelt Institute, and works as a community organizer with NYPIRG, focusing on higher education policy, civic engagement, and hunger and homelessness projects in the West Harlem community.
Alec is a Urban and Regional Studies major at Cornell University. After starting his educational career at the University of Georgia, he then moved to Laredo, Texas, and became deeply involved in local politics, while also serving as the founder of an organization and a Senator in the Student Government Association for Texas A&M International University. Alec temporarily left school to accept a full-time offer with the House of Representatives as an Outreach Coordinator for Texas’ 28th Congressional District, where we worked connecting constituents with grant funding and acting as the liaison between local, state, and federal governments. After his time with Congress, Alec was hired by Frank Architects to work on the City of Laredo Comprehensive Plan, and fell in love with the art of city making. He returned to school in 2016, and has been engaged with drafting neighborhood revitalization plans through Cornell's Design Connect program and was recently elected as a voting member of the Student and University Assemblies.
Killian is a political science and women’s leadership double major from South Carolina studying at Clemson University. She is a National Scholar in the Calhoun Honors College as well as a Global Policy Scholar. She is the Vice President of College Democrats and event coordinator for Clemson’s Feminism club. She is also an Honors ambassador and an Honors mentor. Killian is passionate about women’s rights, particularly the impact of women in government. For her honors thesis in political science, she is researching how women representatives affect their constituents’ views and in her Creative Inquiry research team she is investigating women representatives’ impact on economic vulnerability in South Carolina. Killian is a Public Relations Coordinator for Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority and enjoys doing community service and travelling.
University of Guam
Athena was born and raised on the US Island Territory of Guam in the Western Pacific and she is a junior majoring in criminal justice pre-law and public administration at the University of Guam. Over the years, Athena has conducted research on handwashing and public health, traits of elite female leaders, judges on small islands and the health effects of road races. In graduate school, Athena intends to study federal policy in US territories, and she also intends to go to law school. Her life goal is to help the people of Guam improve their political and governing relationship with the United States. Athena has been active as a leader in both student and community organizations such as Blue Key, Alpha Phi Sigma, and Alpha Phi Omega. From her youth, she has been a major supporter of the American Cancer Society and was appointed by the Governor of Guam to serve as a student member of the Imagine Guam! Strategic Visioning effort. Her hobbies include cooking and 5K road races.
Mikaela is studying mathematical statistics with a minor in political science at Purdue University. She plans to obtain a PhD in Statistics to prepare for a career in the federal government where statistics and policy intersect. Working toward this goal, she is an undergraduate fellow with the Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) and pursued interdisciplinary projects ranging from analyzing domestic drone policies to proposing a policy indicator for net-zero energy cities. She has engaged in multiple other research projects, including a study that uses Bayesian methodologies to determine what factor is causing Lake Chad’s volume to fluctuate greatly. Mikaela is the President of Purdue College Democrats, for which she has led scores of phone banks and canvassing excursions for students and organized debates for local political races. Additionally, she is a member of Purdue’s debate team and an Honors College Mentor.
Thomas is a political science and education policy double major at Rhodes College from Knoxville, Tennessee. His academic interests focus on the experiences of minority students in schools and representation of minorities in the teaching profession. Thomas has interned with the Memphis Teacher Residency, taught GED courses in the Shelby County Jail, and worked with refugee populations. He hopes to further his understanding of the education landscape in his pursuit of a JD and MPP in Education Policy. Thomas is an active and involved member of his campus community where he serves as Vice-President and President-Elect of the Student Government Association, Partnerships Coordinator for the Bonner Center for Faith and Service, works as a research assistant on a study of the effects and benefits of civic engagement on college students, and serves his church as a delegate to the General Synod.
Kathleen is a political science major in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University. She is committed to improving political and educational outcomes for underserved groups; her research focuses on marginalization, policy responsiveness, as well as political mobilization and conflict in the United States and East African nations. Kathleen was a Posner Research Fellow in 2015, a 2016 Foreign Language and Area Studies recipient for Swahili, and is currently a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. On campus, she is Director of Education for the Northwestern University Community for Human Rights; in this role, she develops lessons to help student engage with issues of inequity at home and abroad. She also serves in student government as an Accessibility and Inclusion committee member. She plans to pursue her graduate education in politics and social policy.
Vincent is an environmental science major at Drexel University passionate about the intersection of the environment and society and is pursuing two minors in geoscience and mathematics. Growing up in Wheeling, WV, he participated in science fair research and now advocates for improving K-12 STEM education as a Lindy Community Scholar and volunteer in the School District of Philadelphia. Through several internships at the Academy of Natural Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Vincent has pushed to make his research available to the broadest audience possible, and is currently developing online tools to connect the Academy's millions of specimens to anyone online. Beyond his research, Vincent helped create two student organizations at Drexel around natural science and geology, was President of the Drexel Smart House, Vice President of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, and currently involved in the national DataRefuge Project to preserve and promote federal environmental data. After Drexel, Vincent plans to continue studying environmental science, and integrate his research into policies that protect the environment.
Andi is a junior at Yale University where she studies how technological innovation and public policy intersect to shape economic prosperity, public health, and national security. As a double major in global affairs and cognitive science, she researches artificial intelligence and machine learning, studies policymaking as a member of Yale's Grand Strategy program, and serves as Head Teaching Assistant for CS50, the university's largest engineering course. Last summer, Andi worked at NASA where she designed and published the first full-system engineering model of the Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation concept with the potential to revolutionize global travel. Prior, she worked in Israel and Palestine, exploring how technology can enhance peace education and conflict reconciliation in the region. After graduation, Andi plans to pursue graduate degrees in computer science and public policy.
University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus
Keren is studying Elementary Education with an emphasis in Special Education and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. She serves as an American Sign Language interperter at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She plans to earn a PhD in Speech and Language Pathology and research new strategies for language acquisition and alternative communication. Keren hopes to return to Puerto Rico to create more opportunities and better integration for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Miranda is a proud Nevadan passionate about civil rights, focusing her current efforts on women’s rights and gender equality. Miranda studies at Princeton University, where she majors in history and pursues certificates in the History and Practice of Diplomacy, European Cultural Studies, and Judaic Studies. Miranda has held multiple leadership roles in the Undergraduate Student Government, Princeton Debate Panel, her residential college, and many Jewish organizations. She has created and led task forces designed to advocate for students of differing backgrounds, and has spearheaded projects to adhere to the needs of individuals of differing genders, socioeconomic statuses, and religious observances. Miranda plans to attend law school, which will equip her to pursue a career in civil rights and anti-discrimination law fighting for the rights of underprivileged groups.
George Mason University
Joe is a junior government and international politics major at George Mason University with a concentration in philosophy, politics and economics and a minor in health and social policy. Joe has served as the President of the GMU College Democrats, the Secretary of the Virginia Young Democrats, the Treasurer of the Fairfax County Democrats and has interned or volunteered on campaigns from President of the United States to Fairfax County School Board dating back to 2012. In 2016, he served as a Senior Field Organizer for the Clinton Campaign in Phoenix, AZ and helped make substantial Democratic gains in his home state. Additionally, Joe spearheaded the effort to create a Student Health Advisory Board at George Mason University and is a member of the GMU University Scholars Program, a cohort of 80 high-achieving Mason students.
University of Texas at Dallas
Matt is a McDermott Scolar and Archer Fellow studying mathematics with minors in economics and political science at the University of Texas at Dallas. He plans to pursue graduate education in environmental economics and work on policy issues surrounding the economics of climate change. At UT Dallas, Matt interned in the Office of Sustainability, founded the university’s chapter of Food Recovery Network, worked as a teaching assistant for an honors physics course, and served as President of the school’s Sustainability Club. He has researched medicinal fungus markets and studied environmental conservation in Bhutan. As an intern at the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, Matt works on economic models and supports policy development. He is an avid hiker and enjoys spending his free time playing soccer, running, and doing pretty much anything outdoors.
Growing up in India and Mexico, Celina observed from a young age how human-driven ecological and climate changes affected vulnerable populations, especially poor coastal communities. Eager to address the inequity of these impacts, and fascinated by the relationship between people and the ocean, Celina has tailored her undergraduate education at Cornell University to prepare her for the complex ecological and social challenges of marine conservation. Because Cornell does not offer programs of study in integrated marine science, she crafted and is pursuing an independent major through the College Scholars Program around issues of marine conservation science and coastal sustainability studies. Her interdisciplinary coursework has given her a layered foundation in her topics of interest, which she has built upon with field and lab experiences relating to coral reef and fisheries sustainability: an REU internship on marine ecosystem health, research assistance on coral disease, and work investigating coral bleaching impacts on fishing communities in Indonesia. She plans to pursue graduate studies in marine conservation and coastal social inequality, which will prepare her for work in environmental nonprofits and/or public agencies.
University of Alaska-Anchorage
Jacob Shercliffe is a University of Alaska Scholar at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he majors in political science and economics, with a minor in communication. On campus, he works to promote dialogue between university administrators and the student body. He volunteers as a coach for middle and high school students learning debate and forensics, while competing for UAA around the world. Jacob is Secretary-General of the Alaska Model United Nations program, which organizes an annual conference to help teach students about international relations and diplomacy. After graduation, he plans to earn a joint Master of Arts in Education and Master of Public Policy degree to prepare him for a career promoting access to education and boosting graduation rates for Alaskans.
A proud twin brother and Brooklyn Nets fan, David majors in history at Yale University with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. David first developed a passion for the region while in high school, where he wrote an original Cold War thesis under professor John Gaddis that was later published in the West Point Undergraduate Historical Review. At Yale, he is the Editor in Chief of the Yale Daily News, leading a board of 40 and a staff of roughly 200 students. David previously interned for Hillary Clinton's campaign policy team and then served as the youngest member of her general election debate preparations team. He intends to complete his BA and MA in History in May 2018, and then to pursue a joint JD and MA in International Affairs.
Though Malina lives with her family in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she currently studies political science and economics at Yale University with a concentration in mass incarceration. Passionate about criminal justice reform and social justice, Malina spends time outside of school working at the Federal Public Defender’s office and researching for the Yale Students for Private Prison Divestment. One of the first children born to two gay dads through assisted reproduction, Malina has served as an advocate for LGBTQ rights and families. Malina has spoken on Huffington Post, NPR, and in court, and has submitted testimony for the amicus brief, “Voices of the Children,” used and cited in the recent Supreme Court cases. She currently serves as a member of the Outspoken Generation, a sub-organization of Family Equality Council and on the Board of Directors of the National Non-Profit COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere). With a career in public service, she plans to dedicate herself to combatting civil inequality and injustice on a legal level.
At American University, Shyheim studies political science and education, with a focus on policy and community-based research. He is a Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar and a member of the Honors Program. Originally from Bridgeport, CT, Shyheim’s upbringing sparked an irrepressible desire to improve urban neighborhoods, support the most underperforming schools, and disrupt the impacts of intergenerational poverty. He currently serves as the Student Trustee on the AU Board of Trustees. Off campus, Shyheim has been an Associate with the District of Columbia Public Schools and an intern in the Executive Office of the DC Mayor. Shyheim’s long-term goal is to address external factors that influence student achievement in the classroom.
Growing up as a low-income student on a farm in rural South Dakota, raised by a single mother with multiple sclerosis, challenged Ashley to think about poverty through an intersectional lens. Ashley’s majors of political science and critical identity studies at Beloit College have influenced her goal of creating a movement for people in rural areas that focuses on both race and class. She is highly engaged in activism on her campus and is Vice President of the Sexual Health and Reproductive Choice Coalition and one of the founders of the Revolutionary Student Committee at Beloit College. Her involvement in her community extends to South Dakota politics as she has managed a state level campaign, worked as an intern in the South Dakota Legislature, developed her own policy internship with NARAL Pro-Choice SD, and volunteered with the Young Elected Legislative Leaders Program-a mock legislature for high school students interested in politics. Ashley plans to expand upon the research she started at the Center for Responsive Politics this past summer by pursuing a joint JD and PhD in political science, researching the feminization and racialization of rural poverty.
After serving five years in the United States Marine Corps as an Arabic linguist, Cristine transitioned out to attend the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 2015. Since beginning at Georgetown, Cristine has worked at an NGO researching religion and diplomacy in peacekeeping, covered “all things Libya” for the Spokesperson at the Department of State as a Foreign Service Intern, worked for Department of State as an EducationUSA Virtual Advisor for Syrian college applicants. She will continue her work as a Foreign Service Intern the summer of 2017 at the Pol/Econ desk at US Embassy Pristina, Kosovo. Cristine currently serves as President of the Georgetown Student Veteran’s Association where she strives to expand support and access to resources for veterans entering higher education. Cristine hopes to marry her lived experience in the post-conflict space with the academic depth she’s gained at Georgetown to work in development, specifically on programs that ensure engagement of women during war or throughout post-conflict reconstruction. Cristine enjoys backpacking with her fiancé, Bryce, and their rare breed of mountain pug, Elliot.
A first-generation immigrant from the Dominican Republic, Taslim studies political science and peace and justice studies at Pace University. She has established a student organization called ABRIR (which means “to open” in Spanish; Advocates Bring Resources to Immigrant & Refugees) that hosts college application workshops to undocumented students. She interns at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and she volunteers and recruits Pace students to volunteer for the office’s “We Are New York” program, which helps immigrant New Yorkers practice English through volunteer-led conversation groups. Through the help of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, Taslim has also interned at the Institute of International Education and 100 Resilient Cities. She hopes to continue to advocate for immigrant rights and reform through non-profit work.
Rory Taylor is majoring in international relations at Pomona College. A member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, he has worked on projects both in and outside of college to strengthen tribal and urban Indian communities. He is planning to pursue a Juris Doctorate with a focus on the intersection of international human rights and federal Indian law. He hopes to help build models of Indigenous governance by connecting communities across the world. While in school, he has created the IndigeNATION Scholars Program, worked as a mentor for the Indigenous Peer Mentoring Program at the Claremont Colleges, and has served as the Community Service Chair for Kappa Delta Fraternity.
University of Chicago
Soreti studies public policy and comparative race and ethnic studies at the University of Chicago. She is passionate about criminal justice reform and has spent the last two summers interning with criminal justice focused organizations in Chicago. She currently serves on the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission Youth Advisory Board where she works to address the underutilization of juvenile record expungement in Illinois. At UChicago, Soreti is involved with TEDxUChicago; she also works with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and other campus organizations that advocate for minority students. She plans to become a civil rights lawyer and devote her career to legal advocacy and criminal justice policy reform work.
Daniel is a proud Georgetown University Hoya from the Heartland, majoring in international politics and minoring in French at Georgetown University. His professional positions with the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Senate impressed upon him the ability of the law to provide a voice to the vulnerable. Daniel is particularly interested in consumer protection and the enforcement of financial regulations, and he hopes to attain a law degree and become a federal prosecutor. Drawing on his experiences growing up in a multicultural household, Daniel also spent a semester working with a refugee resettlement nonprofit in France. Daniel is involved with student government, is an Editor for the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and is an Ordained Deacon in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Born in Munich, Germany, and raised in the Seattle area, Lilith Winkler-Schor currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in social policy, and political science, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in glass and sculpture at Tulane University. Her scholarship focuses on urban policy, with special emphasis on incarceration, poverty, and housing policy; her studio practice examines place and how identity shapes one's interaction with one's environment. In her time at Tulane, Lilith co-founded Roots of Renewal, a community development non-profit that provides work training for formerly incarcerated young adults as they reenter their neighborhoods. Passionate about economically and racially equitable neighborhoods and resource development, Lilith hopes to work as a social impact designer, merging her interests in place, community development and art. Lilith is a fellow at the Next City Vanguard, the Resolution Project, and the Center for the Study of Presidency and Congress.
Carnegie Mellon University
Mikaela is a global studies and Hispanic studies double major at Carnegie Mellon University. She has a long-standing commitment, starting in high school and continuing to the present, to defending the rights of migrants and unrecognized refugees. Currently, she is spending four months on the Arizona-Mexico border providing humanitarian aid to migrants in the desert and volunteering with an organization that provides free legal services to immigrants. While at CMU, Mikaela served as the President of FORGE, a student organization that works with the locally resettled refugee population of Pittsburgh; worked as a cultural orientation intern with a local resettlement agency; and held the position of Educational Programming Chair for a staff and student-led group promoting civic engagement on campus. She hopes to pursue a degree in law and ultimately work to fight for immigration reform, immigrants' rights to asylum, and due process in the justice system.
University of Miami
An aspiring health policy wonk, Kristiana studies public health and business administration as a Stamps Scholar at the University of Miami. She has enjoyed getting to know the Miami community through student health advocacy on campus as well as internships with local public health authorities. Her interest in health coverage brought her to Washington DC, where she has interned with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the White House Domestic Policy Council, and the Senate Finance Committee. Kristiana hopes to reform the health system by aligning payment and delivery innovation with social determinants of health.
University of Kansas
Taylor is a fifth-generation Kansan from rural Smith County, Kansas, where he played for a nationally-recognized high school football team and worked at his family's farm. While attending the University of Kansas, Zabel has been involved in the University Honors Program, is the chair of the Counseling and Psychological Services Advisory Board, and has been active in the Provost’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group. He has held internships with the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, and is co-author on a publication about tissue engineering methods. As an advocate for healthcare access, Taylor has worked on projects to improve mental health services and outreach at the University of Kansas and supported his hometown by writing a grant for the construction of a new hospital. Passionate about public service, he has also devoted his undergraduate career to student government, and currently serves as the chair of the Student Fee Review Committee—which allocates over $20 million annually for services benefiting KU students. Zabel plans to use his undergraduate degree in biochemistry to attend medical school and pursue a career in public health through the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. His career goal is to become an ideal candidate for Surgeon General of the United States.