The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation - the federal memorial to our thirty-third President - awards merit-based scholarships to college students who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, participate in leadership development activities, and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government. Truman Scholars take part in the Truman Scholars Leadership Week, which gives scholars the chance to meet other like-minded students from across the nation; learn more about graduate school and scholarship opportunities; interact with past scholars and career public servants; and undertake a community service project. Some Truman Scholars are also able to take part in the Summer Institute after graduation, which includes a nine-week internship in Washington, DC; seminars in public policy; workshops; and social activities with other Truman Scholars. 24 of the Scholars will also be selected to work in DC for one year after graduation as a part of the Truman-Albright Fellows Program, which includes a year-long public service position, and graduate-level seminars in public policy. Truman Scholars also bypass the written section of the Foreign Service Officer examination and move directly to the oral exam.
The Foundation defines public service as employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service-oriented nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment. The Foundation seeks persons who aspire for positions in government or the nonprofit and advocacy sectors where they wish to improve the ways in which federal, state, or local government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations serve the public and protect resources. The Foundation has supported Truman Scholars in many fields of study, including agriculture, biology, engineering, environmental management, physical and social sciences, and technology policy, as well as traditional fields such as economics, education, government, history, international relations, law, political science, public administration, nonprofit management, public policy, and public health. Past Truman Scholarship winners serve as managers of government programs, legislators and aides for legislative bodies, foreign service officers, school teachers, staff members in policy analysis and research organizations, attorneys for government agencies, public defenders, professors, and professional staff in advocacy organizations and not-for-profit institutions to serve the disadvantaged or to protect the environment.
In 2013, one scholarship will be available to a qualified resident nominee in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and, considered as a single entity, the Islands: Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. (Residency is generally determined by home address for school registration, family's primary residence, and voter registration.) The Foundation will select up to 15 at-large Scholars. The award may be used only for tuition, fees, books, room and board, or other specifically approved expenses. Payments from the Foundation may be received to supplement, but not to duplicate, benefits from the educational institution or from other foundations, institutions, or organizations. The combined benefits from all sources may not exceed the costs of tuition, fees, books, and room and board as prescribed by the institution. Scholars may defer, for up to four years, Foundation support for their graduate studies after completion of their undergraduate studies. Scholars in graduate study programs supported by other means and Scholars in the Armed Forces may request additional years of deferral. Scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a Foundation funded graduate degree program as a condition of receiving funding. Scholars who are not employed in public service for a total of three years, or who fail to provide proof to the Foundation of such employment, will be required to repay any funds received along with interest. The Foundation will have an appeals process for those Scholars in special circumstances.
To be eligible for Grinnell College's nomination for a Truman Scholarship, you must meet the following minimum eligibilty standards:
- A college junior (click here for the Truman foundation's definition of this term). Please note that Grinnell nominates students during the spring of their second year.
- A strong student academically. The Truman requires that students be in the top quarter of their graduating class. Because Grinnell does not rank students by GPA, in general this means that we nominate students with a GPA of 3.3 and above.
- Have a commitment to a career in public service, as defined above.
- A United States citizen or a United States national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Resident aliens (green card holders) are not eligible.
Common Characteristics of Successful Truman Applicants
- Accomplished, proven, and effective leaders
- People who have taken or shown initiative - starting or exploding organizations or ideas
- Interest in policy or solutions at a systemic level
- Interest in politics or political means to an end
- Intelligent, articulate, and well-versed in a variety of topics
To apply for one of Grinnell's four nominations for members of the class of 2014, please submit the following to Doug Cutchins in 1233 Park St., by 5:00pm on Monday, April 15, 2013. Because the CRSSJ (1233 Park St.), which houses the Office of Social Commitment, is inaccessible to students with mobility disabilities, please contact email@example.com if you would like to make alternative plans to submit your application materials.
- A Grinnell College Truman nomination application Please note that this is a .pdf document that may be completed using Adobe Acrobat. However, unless you have a full version of Acrobat, you may not be able to save your work. For the short answer questions, you should compose your answers using a word processing program, then cut and paste into the text boxes.
- An unofficial copy of your Grinnell College transcript, obtained from the Registrar (please do not simply print a copy off from PioneerWeb).
- Your four-year academic plan
- An Scholarship Nomination Permission Form and Waiver
- A current resume which includes the following information, as appropriate and relevant: public service/community service; jobs/internships; awards/scholarships/publications; leadership positions; other activities
Please ensure that all materials submitted for Grinnell's on-campus nomination process comply with these guidelines, especially the requirement that all application materials be printed single-sided, and that you should not staple your documents. Applicants will be interviewed 1:1 by Doug Cutchins in late April or early May. Grinnell's Truman Scholarship nominating committee will meet and name our 2013-14 Truman nominees in early to mid-May.
Click here for a 2013 Truman Information Meeting Powerpoint
All applicants are expected to adhere to these ethical guidelines.
National Application Preparation
Because the Truman Scholarship's national application is quite extensive and in-depth, Grinnell's four nominees from the class of 2015 will meet weekly as a group with Doug Cutchins throughout the summer or fall semester of 2013 to work on completing it. This is a major commitment, and past nominees have compared the experience to being the equivalent of a 2-credit course. Nominees will be expected to write short answers on a near-weekly basis; read and comment on one another's work; and conduct research on their topic of interest, for their policy proposal, and about possible graduate education courses. Nominees should expect to spend two to five hours per week preparing their application throughout the summer or fall semester (as determined by the group). It is not required that nominees be on campus for the fall 2013 semester. Nominees who are abroad during this time will be integrated into the group as possible and using available technology. When a majority of the nominees are off-campus during the fall semester, the group has sometimes met by conference call during the summer months instead.
Value of the Application Process
While the Truman Scholarship application process is quite intensive and time-consuming, nominees will be constantly encouraged to focus on the benefits of the process of applying. This is an opportunity to think seriously about who you are, what you have accomplished, your goals in life, and what is important to you. Nominees also have the chance to think seriously about graduate school, to conduct in-depth research on a topic of particular interest to them, and to hone and practice their interviewing skills. Regardless of whether the nominee is named as a finalist or wins the Truman Scholarship, our aim is for the process to justify the amount of work that goes into producing a high-quality application. Applicants also benefit by having the opportunity to work closely with and get to know three peers who are similarly interested in and dedicated to a career in public service.
Recent Grinnell College Truman Nominees, Finalists, and Scholars
- Cynthia Amezcua
- Brian Buckley (finalist)
- Leah Lucas (finalist)
- Jeremy Sanchez
- Anika Manzoor (finalist)
- Amanda Muskat (finalist)
- Charity Porotesano (scholar)
- Jenny Peek (finalist)
- Claire Griffith
- Joe Maloney
- Annie Tomlinson (finalist)
- Thomas Van Heeke
- Aaron Barker
- Claire Branigan
- Allison Brinkhorst
- Rebecca Heller
- Winnon Brunson, Jr. (finalist)
- Hart Ford-Hodges
- Caitlin Galer-Unti
- Jacob Reisberg (finalist)
- Tommy Jamison
- Dan LaFountaine
- Alec Schierenbeck (scholar)
- Emily Stiever (finalist)
- Linn Davis (finalist)
- Hannah Garden-Monheit (finalist)
- Christina Reynolds
- Mary Pat Twomey
- Katie Jares (scholar)
- Elena Rubin
- Kristin Snavely
- Ben Weyl (finalist)
- Jenny Dale (finalist)
- Vashti Davis
- Jason Rathod
- Eli Zigas (scholar)
The Truman Scholarship website has an excellent list of FAQs for applicants, which should be reviewed by all candidates. Grinnell College candidates should direct any other questions to Doug Cutchins, via the Contact Information below.