LaShunda Shecuna Hill, a UTC University Honors senior majoring in political science, sociology, and the humanities, is one of 60 students from 55 US colleges and universities, and the only student from Tennessee, selected as a 2009 Truman Scholar according to Madeleine K. Albright, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. The students were elected by seventeen independent selection panels on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability, and likelihood of “making a difference.”
The 60 Scholars were selected from among 601 candidates nominated by 289 colleges and universities. Each Scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be US citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.
Hill is committed to improving the lives of youth in need. She is the co-founder of Higher Ed – Higher Goals, a program that encourages at-risk students to attend college. She has been active in student government, worked with Upward Bound, and interned for the Tennessee Legislature. She interned for Constituency for Africa, helping to promote sustainable development, and worked for her local Juvenile Court. In the spring of 2008, she volunteered with an NGO (Non Government Organization) working with street children while studying in Ghana. It is her belief that “one should pursue excellence not for self benefit, but to better the world around them.”
She plans to pursue both the JD and MPA degrees. Her career goals are rooted in International Studies, Public Policy and Administration.
Dr. Gregory O’Dea, Director of the UTC University Honors Program, notes that Hill is just the kind of change agent the Truman Foundation seeks. “She is bright, passionate, committed and among the most energetic young scholars I have known.”
The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to our thirty-third President. The Foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the Foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the US Treasury. There have been 2670 Truman Scholars elected since the first awards were made in 1977.
Hill is the second UTC University Honors student to receive the Truman award. The first was Barbara (Elwood) Schalmo in 2002.
The 2009 Truman Scholars will assemble May 26 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, and receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, on May 31, 2009. For a listing of the 2009 Scholars and more information on the Foundation, see www.truman.gov.
2009 Truman Scholars statistics:
- 13 attend a small college [undergraduate enrollment less than 3000 students];
- 9 attend one of America’s 50 largest universities;
- 5 attend a service academy;
- 36 attend a public institution.