2018 Truman Scholars

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Congratulations to the 2018 Truman Scholars! In 2018, we selected fifty-nine outstanding college students from fifty-two institutions as Truman Scholars. Read more about them in our Press Release.

The Foundation reviewed 756 files from 312 institutions. Students were nominated by their institution based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement. Our Finalist Selection Committee selected 194 students from 137 institutions to interview with the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels between March 2 and April 9. The 2018 Truman Scholarship Finalists can be found here.

Hadeel Abdallah Photo
University of Kentucky
Hadeel is a first-generation college student majoring in political science and Arabic and Islamic studies, while also pursuing a certificate in peace studies. Hadeel is passionate about solving the institutional educational disadvantages faced by refugees and underrepresented minorities. As President of the Muslim Student Association, Hadeel created the Refugee Benefit Gala, raising over $30,000 for Kentucky Refugee Ministries and the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky Refugee Resettlement Program. Hadeel serves as the Director of Inclusion and Outreach for the UK student government and with the UK Student Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion, where she has connected underrepresented minority student groups to influence campus policy. Hadeel hopes to pursue a PhD in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies to further her ability to help the most vulnerable among us. Hadeel is a William C. Parker Scholar, Robert Henry Hughes Scholar, Chellgren Student Fellow, Gaines Center for the Humanities Fellow, Provost Student Advisor, and board member of the University of Kentucky Equal Opportunity Committee. She enjoys travelling, baking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Sara Al-Zubi photo
Miami University
Sara is a junior majoring in premedical studies and human capital management and leadership at Miami University. An immigrant to the United States from Jordan, Sara has worked extensively with Arab refugees in Cincinnati and across Ohio to increase their self-sufficiency in their adopted homes and improve their knowledge about, and access to, healthcare and mental health resources. This work has led her to start her own nonprofit, the 3Sisters Foundation, which provides mental health counseling to refugees through a toll-free helpline. She is also currently serving as the U.S. Ambassador for UN Humanitarian Affairs, leading the recruitment of 150 North American delegates to the UN’s University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok this summer.
Jack Andraka photo
Stanford University
Jack is studying electrical engineering and anthropology at Stanford University with a focus on addressing environmental, health, and data disparities. A passionate global health advocate and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Jack founded an LLC dedicated to implementing global health interventions using big data, engineering, and community-based strategies. As a part of these efforts, Jack implemented a crowdsourced environmental monitoring program in Tanzania in collaboration with local stakeholders that yielded a dataset of 100,000 measurements of water quality in the district which is now being used to pursue legal action against mining corporations. Jack has also worked to promote open access to scientific research and has collaborated with the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition as well as the Obama Administration to make all federally funded research freely available to the public. He has conducted research in both the Quake and Demirci labs on electrically actuated microfluidic valves and single-cell sequencing as well as independent research projects on a novel class of nanorobots and inexpensive biosensors for HIV/AIDS and malaria. Jack has been awarded the Samuel S. Beard Award for the Greatest Public Service for an individual Thirty-Five Years or Under by the Jefferson Foundation alongside the founders of Black Lives Matter and Peyton Manning. This summer, Jack will be continuing his research into the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone using a combination of ethnography and econometrics under Professor Duana Fullwiley. Jack is a member of the U.S. Whitewater Kayaking Team and represented the U.S. at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships, where he placed 21st and 40th.
Andrew Boardman photo
Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island
Andy is dedicated to advancing economic opportunity through public policy. As a policy intern at the State of Rhode Island’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity, his research on economic challenges facing women- and minority-owned construction firms was presented before a working group convened by Governor Raimondo. As president of the URI Democrats and a board member of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island, Andy works to empower students from underrepresented backgrounds and promote legislation and candidates that benefit young Rhode Islanders. He is also an associate member of the Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus, participates in his local Democratic Town Committee, and has performed advocacy work for municipal, state, and national issues. At URI, Andy also serves as an economics tutor, is the president and a founding member of the URI Economics Student Association, and participates in debate club and Student Action for Sustainability. Andy plans to continue advocating for thoughtful solutions to inequality of opportunity by pursuing a Master of Public Policy.
James Brahm photo
United States Air Force Academy
James was born and raised in Huntsville, AL. Before coming to the Air Force Academy, he worked for an engineering firm, leading a malware analysis and R&D team. James is currently a junior majoring in computer science with minors in both nuclear weapons and Mandarin Chinese. James has earned a Parachutist Badge and Cadet Command Cyber Wings, competes as part of the USAFA Cyber Competition Team, and has developed software for the NSA. His primary interests are ethical hacking, artificial intelligence, and deterrence theory. In his non-existent free time, James enjoys being outdoors and exercising.
South Carolina
University of South Carolina-Columbia
Casey aspires to be an oceanographer who engages with America's coastal communities and policy officials to increase resiliency in the face of climate change. Through internships and community outreach activities with NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the United Nations, Conservation Voters of South Carolina, and local chapters of Citizens Climate Lobby and the Sierra Club, Casey has directly engaged hundreds in a dialogue about the ocean's important role in climate and in everyday life. Her integrative coursework as a marine science and applied mathematics double major at the University of South Carolina Honors College inspired her use of climate and oceanographic models to research Antarctic ice-ocean interactions - processes relevant for carbon sequestration and sea level rise - at her home university and through summer fellowships at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab. At USC, Casey is also committed to increasing the voice of minorities and women in science as founder and president of Women in Geosciences, vice-president of SACNAS, co-chair of Marine Technology Society, and an active volunteer for homeless services in Columbia, SC. After taking a gap year to join a political campaign ahead of the 2020 election, Casey plans to pursue a PhD in physical oceanography and work at the interface of science research and policy.
Jaz Brisack photo
University of Mississippi
Jaz juggles political organizing while pursuing a degree in journalism, public policy leadership and creative writing. She also competes on the school’s debate team. Jaz strives to practice intersectional activism, fighting for human rights and justice in many different spheres. She has helped deliver firewood to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, taught public speaking in the Mississippi Delta, organized with the United Auto Workers at the Nissan plant in Canton, managed a campaign for a progressive candidate in a deep-red Rankin County district, defended Mississippi's last abortion clinic from scores of right-wing protesters, and has been involved in several civic and advocacy groups.
University of Connecticut
Akshayaa studies biological sciences and sociology at the University of Connecticut, where she is active with the Honors Program and different global communities on campus. Her passion for learning languages has led her to studying Korean in Gwangju, South Korea on a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship. Akshayaa serves as the Vice Chairperson of the Academic Affairs Committee for the student government, works as an editorial assistant at the Social Science & Medicine peer-reviewed journal, volunteers as a community health educator through the Collegiate Health Service Corps, and leads Bhagavad Gita studies at the Hindu Students Council. She has conducted research on how rural South Indian women access and understand cervical cancer screening and implemented novel health education programs in rural Tamil Nadu. As a Global Health Fellow at the UN Foundation, she campaigns for the United Nations' global health programs and promotes in-district advocacy of global health issues like malaria. Driven by people and their potential, Akshayaa aspires to devote her career to building healthier communities, in both the United States and abroad, through medicine and policy. After graduation, she intends to earn an MD/MPP dual degree and pursue a fulfilling career as a physician-public servant.
Montana State University-Bozeman
Haley is a junior studying cell biology, neuroscience and liberal studies at the MSU Honors College. For the past three years, she has worked as an advocate for survivors of interpersonal violence at the MSU VOICE Center. Currently, she serves on the Survivor Fund Board, volunteers with cancer patients at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, mentors local gifted youth, and leads the Science Policy Advocacy Network at MSU. As the Opinion Editor of the MSU Exponent, she won the Montana Newspaper Association's "Best Editorial". She then stepped away from journalism to work as a field organizer for Denise Juneau for Congress and Steve Bullock for Governor. Subsequently, she was elected to the board of Big Sky Democrats - the Young Democrats of Montana and appointed by Governor Steve Bullock to serve on the Youth Justice Council of the Board of Crime Control. Haley is passionate about using her neuroscience studies to improve mental health outcomes for youth who encounter the juvenile justice system. Haley intends to pursue a career in biomedical science policy advocacy, with a focus on equitable mental health care. In her free time, you'll find her exploring the mountains of Montana on two wheels or making music around a campfire with friends.
Andi Dahmer photo
Western Kentucky University
Andi, a native of Fisherville, Kentucky, currently serves as the Student Body President and Student Regent at Western Kentucky University, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in economics, international affairs, Spanish, and Asian religions & cultures. While at WKU, Andi has studied abroad in seven countries. Currently, she is writing a thesis on the diplomatic recognition of Taiwan as it relates to Central America and has co-published three articles related to East Asian studies. In addition to fighting for equity and inclusion in her role as Student Body President, Andi works to engage students in the political process through advocacy with the ONE Campaign, membership in the Hilltopper Organization of Latin American Students, and her leadership in the campus Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. She aspires to a career in Kentucky politics working to mitigate inequality in the Commonwealth.
Stephen Damianos photo
New Hampshire
University of Pennsylvania
Stephen studies political science and journalistic writing at the University of Pennsylvania. He has conducted research on judicial considerations in immigrant bond proceedings as well as the rising levels of incivility in politics. A passionate human rights activist, Stephen is the president and founder of Penn Undergraduates for Refugee Empowerment (PURE), an organization that seeks to empower refugees with the transferable skills needed to succeed as active citizens. Stephen works with the United Nations “Together” campaign to mobilize university students in refugee advocacy and will spend summer months volunteering in Athens with a Greek cooperative that provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers. Stephen plans on pursuing a JD, with a focus on immigration law.
Natalee Deaette photo
Boston College
Natalee is a Vermont native committed to addressing educational inequity among disadvantaged youth, particularly those from rural areas. She is studying applied psychology and human development in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, with a focus on community advocacy and social policy and a minor in managing for social impact. On campus, she is a McGillycuddy Logue Fellow and has been actively involved in the Emerging Leader Program and the Student Initiatives division of the Undergraduate Government. For the past three years, she has worked for the Upward Bound program at Johnson State College, which prepares low-income, first generation high school students for higher education. Having participated in this program herself, Natalee knows firsthand the struggles that these students face in their pursuit of higher education and hopes to bridge those gaps through her public service work. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree in education policy and management.
Andrea Duarte-Alonso photo
Saint Catherine University
Andrea is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation student who was raised in seven diverse, rural communities in five different states. The struggles that her parents and other immigrants faced in these towns inspired Andrea to learn more about the rights of immigrants by pursuing a major in political science at St. Catherine University. Because of her dedication and community advocacy, she was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to represent Greater Minnesota on the Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet and was selected as a Phillips Scholar in which she will execute a project focused on the immigrant community called “Stories from Unheard Voices.” Andrea intends to pursue a graduate program that will allow her to follow her passion of making the world a better place for those with little power or influence.

Justin Edwards photo

Howard University
Justin is a junior at Howard University studying political science and economics. He is the Founder and President of the VISION Foundation in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. Justin is passionate about empowering underserved and minority communities and is particularly interested in creating economic opportunities through effective expansions in education and affordable housing. Currently studying European politics and global issues abroad in Rome, he is also interning at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center where he is conducting data analytics, fundraising, and instructing professional development, English, and French to refugees and migrants from all over the globe. Embodying Howard University’s motto, “Truth and Service,” Justin is both an avid scholar and a devoted public servant planning to pursue a JD.
Dina Eldawy photo
Syracuse University
Dina is a junior pursuing a double major in international relations and citizenship and civic engagement, with a minor in Spanish. Specializing in Middle Eastern studies and international security and diplomacy, Dina interns at a local refugee education center in Syracuse, NY. She plans to impact the refugee community through her senior Capstone project, which will improve English language learning resources at the center. Dina plans to earn a master's degree in conflict resolution or international development. Her career goals include working with USAID on foreign aid and development projects in the Middle East and Latin America.
Madalyn Farrar
Trinity College [CT]
Madalyn is a junior anthropology and biology double major at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut where she is an Illinois Scholar. From the St. Louis metropolitan area, she is passionate about creating a healthy environment through public health policies and wants to work in public service to combat health inequalities. On campus, she works to facilitate student volunteering in Hartford by running several service organizations focusing on access to healthy food, housing, and environmental sustainability. Madalyn has received two community service awards for her work and wants to continue her dedication to service in a public health career. Currently studying health and disease at Oxford University, she is using this opportunity to gain a global perspective on health systems. Madalyn plans on pursuing an MPH or MSPH focusing on women’s health and health policy.
Ashlee Fox photo
Reed College
Ashlee, an economics major at Reed College, is currently studying abroad at the London School of Economics. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Ashlee is dedicated to creating positive change in Indian Country. She is interested in the intersections of tribal sovereignty, food and agriculture policy, and economic development. Ashlee has served as the President of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council, a White House Tribal Nations Youth Ambassador, and the founder and president of American Indians at Reed. Ashlee draws on a wide array of experiences, including work in city and tribal governments, as staff for seven political campaigns, and as a volunteer for food access initiatives. Last summer, she served as a research intern at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Upon graduation, Ashlee plans to attend law school and pursue a career in federal Indian law and policy.
Lamar Greene photo
Emory University
Lamar is a Gates Millennium Scholar from Richmond, Virginia, majoring in human health with a concentration in health innovation at Emory University. He has dedicated his time at Emory to addressing racial health disparities both on campus and in the broader Atlanta community. With the support of the Office of Health Promotion, Lamar expanded the reach of Emory’s PrEP clinic for HIV prevention and has worked to educate clinicians around stigmas on sexuality and race. He also volunteers annually during the open enrollment period to help some of Atlanta’s most vulnerable residents navigate their health insurance options. Lamar plans to pursue a public health career focused on community-based initiatives to promote health equity and improve the lives of low-income, Black people.
University of Nevada-Reno
Kate attends the University of Nevada, Reno, where she studies business management and is a member of the Honors Program. Currently serving as Vice President of the UNR Honors Student Ambassadors, she leads incoming student retreats and coordinates the Honors Peer Mentor Program. Kate has a passion for political engagement and has interned at the Nevada State Senate as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. Currently a marketing and communications intern at the National Judicial College, she is actively assisting in supporting an educated judiciary. Her major policy focus is advocating for better prevention and responses to sexual violence. Kate will pursue a JD, with the goal of promoting a robust legal framework to guarantee victims of violence enhanced respect and protection.
Anne Hall photo
South Dakota
Tufts University
Anne was born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD and is a first-generation Lao-American attending Tufts University in Medford, MA. She is a double major in biology and interdisciplinary studies, concentrating in culture, spirituality, and female adolescent health. Anne is extremely passionate about learning and adopting a multidisciplinary approach in addressing various women’s health issues among rural and low-income areas in South Dakota and has spent the last several years volunteering, interning, and working with various nonprofit organizations in Sioux Falls. Interested in engaging in meaningful conversations regarding the intersectionality between faith and social justice work, Anne plans to integrate her interests in pastoral care and medicine by pursuing both an M.Div and M.D degree.
Kate Hannick photo
Seattle University
Kate is a junior studying economics and public affairs at Seattle University, minoring in Chinese and Asian Studies. Kate serves as the Civic Engagement Chair for the Student Government of Seattle University and volunteers with a local YMCA to advise a group of high school students on government affairs and civic engagement. She is currently an intern in the office of U.S. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, where she assists in constituent casework related to immigration and health care.
Emma Harrison photo
West Virginia
West Virginia University
Born and raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Emma is a junior studying political science and multidisciplinary studies at West Virginia University. Her volunteer work and studies have led to a passionate pursuit of fairness and justice in our criminal justice system. Through her work with the West Virginia Innocence Project, she assists with the exoneration of wrongfully convicted West Virginians. Emma is a member of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange, a class made up of both college students and incarcerated students, and now helps to facilitate the class as a teaching assistant at Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Morgantown. She plans to pursue a degree in education, so she can continue her work with incarcerated individuals, understanding the roles that education, prison policy, and access to technology play in an imprisoned person’s successful re-entry. In her free time, Emma is active in Model U.N. and loves to travel.
Makayla Haussler photo
Yale University
Makayla is the proudest (and only) Nebraskan in her year at Yale University, where she studies American politics, urban studies, and the politics of inequality. She has coordinated legislative advocacy and communications strategy for the Yale College Democrats, taught international relations to New Haven high school students, worked on reproductive justice issues with Planned Parenthood, and managed a campaign for the local city council. Last summer, Makayla returned to Nebraska, where she organized community members to save the Affordable Care Act and researched the relationship between immigrant communities and labor unions in the state's rural meatpacking towns. She is especially interested in comparative social policy, health care policy, and reproductive justice issues. Makayla hopes to pursue a JD and work as an attorney and policymaker, using our country's legal system to expand protections for reproductive rights and achieve universal health care.
Laurel Hiatt photo
University of Georgia
A Washington transplant raised in Suwanee, Georgia, Laurel is a UGA Foundation Fellow currently earning dual degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology and Spanish, as well as a certificate in interdisciplinary writing. An intersectional social justice activist, Laurel trains service animals as a spokesperson for disability rights, leads community initiatives through organizations including Lambda Alliance, the LGBT Resource Center, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness on Campus UGA. Laurel is also an award-winning journalist with a passion for enhancing science communication, developed during their two years of executive involvement within Science Olympiad Outreach. Laurel intends to earn an MD/PhD in clinical biochemistry. As a physician-scientist, Laurel will investigate disease mechanisms for transgender and intersex patients while also shaping health care policy to better ensure safe and successful engagement of vulnerable populations.
Connor Hoffmann photo
Montana State University-Bozeman
Connor is a fourth-year student from Boise, ID studying chemical engineering, biological engineering, economics, and political science. He has spent the past three years performing biochemistry and structural biology research on CRISPR systems with the Wiedenheft lab. Connor is passionate about objective, science and data informed policymaking, and improving the communication between scientists and policymakers. He intends to pursue a JD/PhD with a concentration in economics, so that he may leverage his STEM background alongside an understanding of political economy to advise social policy. Connor has helped lead a national coalition of leaders among his fraternity in passing legislation mandating the adoption of a substance-free facilities policy, implemented a housing insecurity safety net at MSU to address its invisible student homeless population, and established a science policy advocacy group on campus that gives scientists better tools and support for engaging in civic discourse. Aside from his professional aspirations, Connor is very fond of the outdoors, having lived in the Mountain West all his life. Connor is an avid skier, mountain biker, and rock climber.
Braelen Hunt photo
Arkansas State University
Braelen is in her third year at the Arkansas State University Dietetics program and plans to pursue a master’s and PhD in the field. Having grown up in the Mississippi River Delta region and witnessed food insecurity herself, Braelen plans a career working for welfare agencies to promote health and nutrition in rural communities. Braelen is a student leader best known at A-State and in the local community as a voice speaking out for victims of sexual assault and an activist fighting against rape culture on campus. Braelen has submitted policy proposals and worked closely with university administrators on sensitivity training for law enforcement and bystander intervention training for students, resulting in a significant change in campus culture in the last two years. In her spare time, Braelen is a freelance photographer who utilizes her skills and social media to photograph dogs at the local shelter and promote their adoption.
Dorothy Jiang photo
Brown University
Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Dorothy now studies intersectional mental health at Brown University. Since high school, she has worked at suicide crisis lines across the nation, and currently, she is active in Project LETS, a mental health organization, as a Peer Mental Health Advocate and Political Action Coordinator. Besides mental health work, Dorothy is heavily involved in peer advising and mentoring, making public service career options more accessible for other students. Throughout all her work and studies, she strives to bring a framework of intersectionality to highlight the ways people of different identities and backgrounds experience the world differently. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, she intends to pursue an M.P.P. and M.S.W. with the ultimately goal of working in mental health advocacy, particularly relating to suicide prevention and racial justice.
Sanah Jivani photo
University of Texas-San Antonio
Sanah is a member of the Honors College and is pursuing a double major in sociology and communication at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She is the founder and CEO of The Love Your Natural Self Foundation, a nonprofit she started after losing all of her hair to Alopecia in the seventh grade and subsequently struggling with her own low self-worth. Her organization has reached over 30,000 students in 100 schools and 28 countries through a curriculum that focuses on the social and emotional wellness of young people. Outside of her work with her nonprofit, she is one of 30 We Are Family Foundation's Global Teen Leaders, a member of the American Association of University Women Student Advisory Council, a trustee on the America’s Promise Alliance Board of Trustees, a Pearson Student Advisor, a State Farm Youth Advisory Board Member, a DoSomething and College Board Youth Advisory Council Member, and a 2016-2017 Character Counts Person of Character. She plans to continue to advocate for the inclusion of curricula focuses on social and emotional development in schools and to continue working with students, educators, and policy makers.
Kushal Kadakia photo
Duke University
Kushal is an Angier B. Duke Scholar studying biology, global health, and public policy at Duke University. Aspiring to a career in health policy, Kushal has conducted and published peer-reviewed research on accountable care, biomedical innovation, and radiation oncology. He also interned on the policy team of the North Carolina Governor. His work has been recognized with the United Nations Inspirational Peace Prize, Ole Holsti Prize, Baker Scholarship, Huang Fellowship, and POWER Fellowship, and has also been awarded grants from the Innovation & Impact Fund and Bass Connections Program. At Duke, Kushal also serves as Student Body Vice President, Chair of the Honor Council, a panelist on the Undergraduate Conduct Board, a voting member of the Duke University Board of Trustees, and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Investment Responsibility. He looks forward to a future in service to the public good.
Sydney Kamen photo
District of Columbia
Dartmouth College
Sydney is pursuing a double major in geography and sociology, with a minor in global health. Sydney is a War and Peace Fellow, a Global Health Fellow, a Great Issues Scholar, the President of the International Development Forum at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, and is an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadet. Sydney is also the Founder and President of So Others Are Protected (SOAP), a nonprofit organization solving issues surrounding sanitation and the spread of disease in communities where deficiencies exist around the world. Sydney plans to pursue an MPH/DrPH and a global health career in the public sector.
Sadie Keller photo
Oberlin College
Sadie is a politics major at Oberlin College, with minors in Hispanic studies and law and society. She is passionate about protecting undocumented immigrants and securing immigration reform that benefits immigrants and their new communities. At Oberlin, Sadie coordinates over forty students who tutor Lorain County immigrants studying English as a second language or preparing for the U.S. Citizenship exam. A proud Kansan, Sadie writes for the Huffington Post about rural communities, health care access, and economic development. She has interned with think tanks, worked on Capitol Hill, staffed a presidential campaign, and answered questions at an Obamacare call-center. Sadie plans to pursue a JD/MPA and enter a career in law, immigration advocacy, and community organizing in Kansas.
Amanda Lawson photo
New York University
Amanda is a third-year majoring in public policy, with a minor in poverty studies. A Texas Horatio Alger and AnBryce Scholar at NYU, Amanda has devoted herself to criminal justice reform and working to increase opportunities available to people who come from marginalized backgrounds, like herself. In order to directly fight the harms of pre-trial detention and advocate to end money bail, Amanda started the Dollar Bail Brigade, an organization of 670 volunteers who free innocent individuals in jail for just $1. So far, it has successfully freed 86 people. In addition to being a community organizer, Amanda has interned with the Innocence Project, Vera Institute of Justice, and the Bronx Freedom Fund. On campus, she serves as a Student Senator, representing students affected by incarceration and minority/marginalized students. Amanda hopes to obtain a JD and MPA, with a concentration in advocacy and political action.
Ashley Lawson photo
North Carolina
North Carolina State University
Ashley is a junior studying secondary mathematics education and mathematics. Having grown up in rural North Carolina, Ashley is passionate about improving our public education system to provide support for all students and reducing the inequities between rural, urban, and suburban schools and communities. Ashley has researched the implementation of high school mathematics standards, conducted legislative research at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and volunteered at schools throughout North Carolina. Ashley is the founder and director of Meet My Future, a grassroots organization dedicated to improving the career development, educational attainment, and opportunity for rural students and communities. She plans to dedicate her career to teaching and improving the quality of education for rural students.
Crystal Letona photo
Syracuse University
Crystal was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, where she grew up in a predominantly Latino community with her Mexican mother and her sister. She is currently majoring in policy studies and communications and rhetorical studies with a minor in women’s and gender studies at Syracuse University. On campus and in the community, she advocates for the equality and safety of women and LGBTQ individuals. She plans to pursue a dual degree program in law and public policy. She aims to work at the forefront of sexuality and gender law/legislation issues. Crystal plans to eventually run for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, a platform from which she can address the racial and class disparities in reproductive and sexual health, particularly among low-income women of color.
Michael Lowe photo
University of Alaska-Anchorage
Michael is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Alaska - Anchorage, majoring in political science with a minor in national defense. As a member of the university’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Program, he works to bridge the gap between the university and ROTC by serving as Seawolf Cadet Club president. His service as a cadet in the ROTC program and as an infantryman in the Alaska Army National Guard has given him the opportunity to participate in public service activities around Alaska as well as Europe. As a Ted Stevens Legislative Intern at the Alaska State Legislature, he focuses primarily on Arctic policy, working to develop infrastructure and to increase emergency response capabilities in the Arctic Ocean. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Juris Doctorate with a concentration in international law and security before returning to Alaska to continue his work on challenges facing the state.
Aman Madan photo
Davidson College
Aman is a Terry Leadership Scholar at Davidson College where he is pursuing a double major in political science and Arab studies. As the son of two Indian immigrants whose lives were shaped by Partition, Aman is committed to issues of refugee advocacy, social justice, and feminist scholarship in the Global South. On campus, he has nurtured these passions. In 2015, Aman co-founded Davidson Refugee Support, an organization which seeks to address the Syrian refugee crisis within the local Charlotte community; the organization spans a variety of different initiatives, most important of which is the recruitment of Syrian refugee students to Davidson. In line with his passion for refugee issues, Aman served as a fellow for the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting in Amman, Jordan, where he reported on issues facing Syrian refugees. During his year-long study abroad program in Beirut, Lebanon, Aman worked for the Issam Fares Institute where he researched U.S. foreign policy in Syria and the expansion of the so-called Islamic State in Deir Ez Zor, Syria. Currently, Aman is spearheading a South Asian Student Initiative at Davidson and regularly writes for a number of global publications focused on MidEast issues.
 Jordan Madden photo
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jordan studies political science and sociology with an emphasis on research and statistical analysis at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He has been active in reforming university and state policies that impact student access and affordability in healthcare, especially as they pertain to reproductive public health. During his freshman year, he started a political advocacy organization aimed at making reproductive healthcare more accessible and affordable. Active in student government, he is one of 16 students that allocates millions of student fee dollars, helps draft the University Health Services budget, and advocates alongside state policymakers (both state and federal) for policies and positions that help UW students. He has worked in research institutions, campaign offices, nonprofits, and several university committees dedicated to making campus more equitable, accessible, and affordable to all students.
Safia Mahjebin photo
New York
CUNY Hunter College
Safia is a Brooklynite and junior studying philosophy at Hunter College. She is the creator of “Right to Say "NO!", a workshop series designed to address unhealthy and abusive relationships using Islamic religious scripture in Muslim communities across NYC. She is also an advocate against child marriage in the U.S. and has successfully advocated for raising the age of marriage from 14 to 17 in the state of New York. Her work has been covered by international news media including: BBC, Forbes, and France24. She is a Mellon Mayes Fellow and will soon pursue a PhD in Islamic Studies, specifically focusing on the political and intellectual history of Muslim women. She hopes to be a leading voice of reason in global conversations around Islam, women and nation-building.
Kelly May photo
Coe College
Kelly is a student at Coe College studying educational policy. He is motivated to change public education by integrating nonprofit volunteerism through the medium of service learning terms. Kelly will work in the nonprofit or government sector after his graduate studies and pursue the advancement of alternative education for K-12 students and adult learners. He also wants to improve the civic engagement of high school students and de-privatize the health and wellness industry. He believes that all students have the capacity to promote educational equality and wants to use college and high school students as resources for promoting social mobility in their communities.
Jared Melville photo
North Dakota
North Dakota State University-Main Campus
Jared is a business administration and political science double major at North Dakota State University. As the former Vice President of Government Relations for the North Dakota Student Association, Jared represented students from the state’s eleven public college and universities in support of higher education during North Dakota’s most recent legislative session. Currently, Jared serves as the Chief Justice of the NDSU Student Court and as the student member of the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation. Jared hopes to pursue a joint JD/MPA focusing on the intersection of law, business, and public policy.
Matthew Miller photo
Matthew is a third-year biology major at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina with a minor in American politics. During his time as a cadet, Matthew has led the school’s biology club and sustainable aeroponics project. He also created a sustainability committee on campus which has launched several initiatives, including a revitalized recycling program. For graduate school, Matthew hopes to pursue a dual degree in environmental law and policy, along with a Juris Doctorate. He hopes his education will prepare him for a career of giving back to his hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan by helping impoverished neighborhoods with environmental community projects.
Kieran Minor photo
Oberlin College
Kieran is from Danbury, CT and is a double major in economics and environmental studies at Oberlin College. Before arriving at college, Kieran spent a year living and working with nonprofit youth and media organizations in remote indigenous communities in the American Southwest and in Central Australia, a pivotal experience that steered him to advocate for marginalized areas disproportionately affected by climate change. On campus, he has chaired the Student Union Board and the Green Edge Fund, which allocates funds toward sustainability projects. This fall he studied in India, where he focused on the intersections of environmental policy with public health. He hopes to pursue a joint JD/MEM in environmental law and policy. Outside the classroom, Kieran enjoys tutoring local high schoolers, theater, and arranging for his jazz a cappella group.
Anea Moore photo
University of Pennsylvania
Anea is a proud, life-long Philadelphian and first-generation, low-income (FGLI) student at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in sociology and urban studies, with a concentration in law and a minor in Africana studies. Since losing her mother and father in 2015, just eight months apart, Anea has been an advocate for low-income families. She serves as the Assistant Family Engagement Coordinator at Lea Elementary School where she works directly with families on parent engagement, community programming, and access to education. She has also worked with the FGLI student community to create a program that provides services like textbook aid, a food pantry, and many other resources to over 1,000 students. Above all, Anea carries her parents' love, thoughtfulness, and fighting spirits with her through all of her work. She hopes to continue her work with low-income families and communities by pursuing a JD and graduate degrees in education and public policy.
 Taylor Morgan photo
New Jersey
Swarthmore College
Taylor is a junior with an honors major in sociology/anthropology and honors minors in Black studies and peace and conflict studies. A Black, Queer, and first-generation student, Taylor is originally from Brick, NJ. Taylor intends to pursue a joint J.D./Ph.D. in African American studies and philosophy. Taylor has led a variety of public service initiatives: political campaign organizing, campus voter registration, college access counseling, social movement research, and police/prison abolition advocacy. Taylor currently co-hosts a public radio show, BLACKQUEERHEREradio, where she promotes race-based policy solutions and restorative practices for womxn of color. As a scholar-practitioner, Taylor aspires to one day practice law, produce anti-racist scholarship, and inspire national conversation advocating for racial justice, healing, and reparations. Taylor is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, a Resident Assistant, a Student Academic Mentor (SAM), and the former President of the Swarthmore College Democrats.
Emily Moss photo
Wellesley College
Emily is an economics major at Wellesley College. She is committed to ensuring every neighborhood has equal access to opportunity, particularly through the creation of affordable housing. Emily has researched economic security and urban policy issues with Wellesley’s Department of Economics, MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the New Economy Project, the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, and the Boston City Council. She has also applied her research interests to service work in her community, volunteering as a staff member at the student-run Harvard Square Homeless Shelter and as a representative in her local Town Meeting. Emily is dedicated to helping her peers find their own passions for social action. She is a Civic Engagement Fellow on campus, and previously organized students in political campaigns as Co-President of Wellesley Students for Hillary and Membership Director for the College Democrats of Massachusetts.
Mohamed Nur photo
Bowdoin College
Mohamed is passionate about the ways in which dialogue and direct engagement can be used as instruments to resolve deep-seated conflict in communities across the world. Born in Portland, Maine as the proud son of Somali Muslim immigrants, Mohamed has interned for Senator Angus King, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, and various community organizations where he worked on a range of issues related to foreign policy, immigration, education, and healthcare reform. At Bowdoin, Mohamed is a government and Africana studies double major, interested in contemporary African political development and African security. He serves as the Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Bowdoin Student Government, the Chair of the Multicultural Coalition, Student Director for the Student Center for Multicultural Life, and Head Residential Advisor for Residential Life. Through these roles, Mohamed creates spaces for engagement and dialogue to create an inclusive campus environment. Mohamed plans to pursue a dual JD/MA in international conflict resolution and security policy.
Ella Oppong photo
New York
Union College
Ella is a Ghanaian-American student studying bioengineering with a minor in global service at Union College. Involved in several education and healthcare focused projects that seek to empower women and children in the U.S. and Africa, Ella initiated a partnership between Union’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and the local chapter of Girls Inc. in Schenectady, creating a science, engineering and art outreach program for young women. She is also spearheading the construction of a vocational school for orphaned students in Ghana with a Davis Projects for Peace grant. Ella is an active research student and plans on pursuing an MD/MPH. She hopes to utilize these degrees along with her research and engineering background to bridge gaps in healthcare and improve its accessibility in developing countries, especially those in Africa.
 Paige Rudin photo
Purdue University
Paige is a multidisciplinary engineering student with a self-structured concentration in veterinary health engineering engaged in designing solutions to complex problems at the intersection of animal, human, and environmental health. Resulting from a track record of involvement in undergraduate research, she is interested in the application of engineering analytical techniques to the field of public health. She has international project experiences studying food security and water quality issues in Cap-Haitïen, Haiti; researching, analyzing, and reporting recommendations for sustainable energy consumption at Lebanon United Nations mission sites; and managing an independent undergraduate laboratory project to complete and communicate synthetic biology research position her to view the world's health challenges from a unique, diversified perspective. After graduation, Paige intends to pursue dual degrees in veterinary medicine (DVM) and public health (MPH) to combat the spread of disease through animal and human populations. She is a proud Boilermaker and Steven C. Beering Scholar at Purdue University and holds various leadership roles on campus--opportunities for which she is ever grateful, ever true.
Puerto Rico
United States Military Academy
Ashley Salgado is a law and legal studies major at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Growing up in a military family in Puerto Rico, Ashley was inspired to attend West Point by observing the service of the men and women around her, as well as her recognition of the importance of patriotism and desire to serve others. Ashley has volunteered through the Cultural Affairs Seminar, mentored underprivileged kids through the Youth Impact Program, and led a supply drive to send relief supplies to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Upon graduation, she hopes to become a military intelligence officer and pursue a JD, with the goal of giving a voice to those who need it.
Alexa Scholl photo
Arizona State University
Alexa is a third-year student at ASU’s Barrett Honors College studying political science and Spanish. She is from Prescott, Arizona, and in November 2017, she was elected to the Prescott City Council with the highest number of votes of all the candidates. She is the youngest councilmember in recent history and is currently the youngest councilmember in the state of Arizona. As a councilmember, Alexa is passionate about engaging her constituents in local politics and is working to provide opportunities for young people and families by bringing high paying jobs and affordable housing to Prescott. Alexa is a Tillman Scholar at ASU which is a highly competitive leadership program that studies the servant leadership values influenced by Pat Tillman’s life. She is the co-founder and president of the Political Literates which is an on-campus organization that aims to fight political apathy by delivering political information in an easy to understand and unbiased way. After graduation and completion of her four-year term on City Council, Alexa will attend law school to pursue a career in municipal law where she will continue working to engage citizens in local government.
Georgetown University
Amanda is a junior at Georgetown University majoring in government and minoring in history with plans to pursue a career as a public interest attorney. A first-generation, low-income, non-traditional student from Mobile, Alabama, Amanda earned her GED, graduated summa cum laude from community college, and received a 1789 Scholarship to transfer to Georgetown University. Her experiences have motivated her to dedicate her life to pursuing justice for the poor and marginalized. Amanda is currently a pathways intern in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where she works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans. Previously, she interned at the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law defending the right to vote for traditionally disenfranchised communities. While in community college in Alabama, Amanda founded her own organization, Mobile Equality, dedicated to advocating for equal rights for the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. She also served on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Alabama where she had the distinction of being the youngest person nominated and elected to the board.
 Serene Singh photo
University of Colorado
Serene is a Boettcher Scholar who is double majoring in political science and journalism with a minor in leadership studies at the University of Colorado. Her passion for social justice and The Bill of Rights—particularly the First Amendment as it relates to religious freedom—inspired her honors thesis research project studying the underlying pathology behind discrimination with a lens focused on attacks against Sikh Americans. Compelled to give back to her community after interning for the United States Senate during a time when suicide rates increased in at-risk women populations, Serene founded the nonprofit organization, The Serenity Project, as means to empower some of these women with skills to persevere through and fight against religious-based hate crimes, domestic abuse, human trafficking, and severe body dysmorphia. On campus, Serene is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the student government, President of the Sikh Student Association, and a member of the Presidents Leadership Class. Serene has many off-campus activities and roles including being Colorado’s youngest Speech and Debate Coach for low-income students, teaching graduate students about Sikhism as her local Sikh Temple’s Youth President, and volunteering with young change makers through her state’s Youth Advisory Council.
Conner Suddick photo
Hamline University
Conner studies legal studies, social justice, and nonprofit administration at Hamline University, where he is recognized as an honors student, a 2016 University of Wisconsin Law School James E. Jones Pre-law Scholar, and a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow. He is dedicating his career to reforming civil legal aid delivery and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. For one of his on-campus roles, Conner served as the Justice Coordinator for the Law and Justice Society, where he led initiatives that include implementing a Legal Volunteering Program, designing the Spirit of Justice Award, providing justice-related programming, and creating a community legal clinic on campus. In the community, Conner has been active in legal aid organizations and a community legal clinic in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro, and at 19 was elected to serve on the board of directors for OutFront Minnesota, Minnesota’s largest LGBTQ+ organization. In 2018, Conner studied conflict transformation and social change at the International Conflict Research Institute in Northern Ireland while interning at the Foyle LGBTQ+ Centre. Following his undergraduate degree, he intends to earn his J.D. and M.P.P. to address systemic disparities to accessing the civil justice system.
Sravya Tadepalli photo
University of Oregon
Sravya is pursuing a double major in political science and journalism with a minor in Middle East and North Africa studies. A Wayne Morse Scholar, Sravya has worked on multiple political campaigns and reported on Oregon politics for KWVA Radio. This fall, she plans to study geopolitics and international relations in Jordan, while conducting field research on political reform organizations in the region. Sravya currently serves as President of the University of Oregon Foreign Policy Forum, where she strives to expand opportunities for debate and discussion on foreign policy/national security-related issues on campus. She hopes to pursue a career in foreign policy, focusing on democracy promotion and promoting human rights. In her spare time, Sravya enjoys theater and coaching high school debate.
Maddy Tung photo
United States Air Force Academy
A native of Santa Monica, CA, Maddy Tung graduated from Santa Monica High School with a 4.0 cumulative GPA while concurrently enrolled at Santa Monica College. Maddy was a six-time wrestling All-American and won a National Championship while in high school. Currently a junior at the Air Force Academy, Maddy is a double major in mathematics and humanities as well as a Mandarin Chinese minor. She is also interested in international development, computer science, artificial intelligence, and education. Maddy has earned a Parachutist Badge, holds a Private Pilot’s License, has held numerous leadership positions in the Cadet Wing, and has been on the Superintendent’s List all five semesters. She is a Stamps Leader-Scholar and has conducted on-site research into peacekeeping and development in Kosovo.
Shakera Vaughan photo
Georgetown University
Currently studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, Shakera is a first generation student at Georgetown University studying government and sociology. On campus, Shakera serves as Vice-President of the Georgetown University Women of Color and a board member for The B.R.A.V.E. Summit, two organizations focused on engaging some of the most disproportionately marginalized groups on campus in social justice issues. Her past professional positions involve interning for the Office of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and the Office of Barack and Michelle Obama. Drawing on her personal observations and experiences, Shakera is very passionate about providing resources to survivors of domestic violence, ensuring that housing is affordable for all, and improving the accessibility of education. She plans to return to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia to pursue her Master’s in Public Administration concentrating on Local and State Government Management.
Claire Wang photo
Duke University
Born and raised in North Salt Lake, Utah, Claire is an environmental science & policy major at Duke University, minoring in economics and Asian and Middle Eastern studies. She is deeply passionate about climate change and facilitating the just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Her energy advocacy began in high school, where she worked with local nonprofit Utah Clean Energy to defend solar policies in Utah. She now leads student organizing for climate action at Duke through her student group Duke Climate Coalition. Her campaign successes include securing Duke’s public support of renewable energy policy reform in North Carolina and halting a proposal to build a new natural gas plant on campus. Her other campus activities include working as a research assistant in Duke’s Environmental Justice Laboratory and serving as a student representative on the Campus Sustainability Committee. Her work experience includes internships at Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. After graduation, she plans to pursue a joint JD/Master of Environmental Management. She is an Angier B. Duke Memorial Scholar.
Nicholas Whittaker photo
Harvard University
Nicholas is a junior studying philosophy at Harvard University. Raised outside of Baltimore, Maryland, Nicholas has a strong commitment to protecting and uplifting marginalized communities and identities. He translates this commitment into action as a representative and committee chair on Harvard's Undergraduate Council, as an opinion writer for the Harvard Crimson, and as a member of Harvard's Black Community and Student Theater. Nicholas seeks to unite his political work with his academic interests; he has presented independent work on feminism and economic justice at the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and has spent the past year working on an independent project on philosophical feminism and black radicalism. Nicholas will pursue both a JD and PhD in philosophy and plans to work as an educator and activist dedicated on making academia more accessible and relevant to marginalized communities.
Alisa Winchester photo
Delaware State University
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Alisa is pursuing a BA in English at Delaware State University. Currently enlisted as a soldier in the Delaware Army National Guard and the Reserved Officer Training Corps, her ambitions include earning a Juris Doctorate and serving as an attorney in the United States Army. Her passion for helping others is demonstrated by her commitment to serving the public. She is determined to provide a voice for the voiceless and serve as a positive role model for African Americans and young women in her community.