This scholarship is
a remarkable opportunity for students who want to make a difference for
society in their working lives. It offers financial assistance for
the last year of college and up to three years of graduate work for students
committed to careers in public service. You might think that that
means only politics or governmental work, but in fact the Truman Foundation
defines public service much more broadly:
By this definition (and by the practice of the Truman Foundation), students can be supported for master's and doctoral programs in agriculture, biology, engineering, environmental management, physical and social sciences, technology policy, as well as the more traditional fields of economics, education, government, history, international relations, law, political science, public administration, public policy, and public health. One can even use a Truman Scholarship for medical school, law school or business school if the ultimate goal is public service.
The type of student who is viewed favorably has extensive, high-quality community service, possibly with government involvement, a record of leadership in the college and/or in the community, strong academic performance, and skills in writing and analysis. The proposed program of study must also be suitable for a career in public service.
Does this sound like the quintessential Holy Cross student? I think so! Students who have been active in SPUD, spent time on the trips organized through the Chaplain's Office to Mexico or Appalachia, built houses for Habitat, or volunteered in other capacities here at Holy Cross, in the Worcester community, or in your home towns will have demonstrated your commitment to the public good. The ethos of "men and women for others," means that many of you already plan exactly the training and professional lives that the Truman Foundation endorses. Those of you with experience in the Washington Semester program, or who have held internships during the summer in local government may have an additional source of evidence that you plan to prepare yourselves for a career in public service.
Holy Cross may nominate up to 7 students, 4 who have spent their entire college career at a four-year institution and an additional 3 if they have transferred from a community college. Depending upon the interest in any given class, this may require that applicants be screened and selected for nomination. This screening process involves the following steps:
An unusual feature of the award, besides its size, is the interest of
the Truman Foundation in leadership development. All awardees are
required to attend a Truman Scholars Leadership Week in late May in Missouri,
culminating with an awards ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Library.
All costs are covered by the foundation. The summer after graduation
To prepare yourself for nomination, it is important to think seriously about your future goals and whether they might include public service as an important dimension. Think broadly and creatively about what kind of career fits you the best. Be as specific as you can without promising what cannot be delivered. And work hard on your application.
The Public Policy Proposal is a somewhat daunting document for most people, since it requires significant research to document the facts of the case for which you are proposing a solution, and a fair bit of insight to identify the official to whom the proposal should be addressed. It may be that in one of your courses a term paper is assigned which would lend itself to treatment in this format. By all means ask your faculty member if that would be acceptable; there is no substitute for practice in getting the words onto the paper, and then you would have a product that other mentors could help you shape.
The Truman web site is quite an extraordinary wealth of information to help you decide whether to apply, and if you choose to proceed, how to make the best case for yourself. There are good suggestions on the web site http://www.truman.gov/. In particular there are examples of good and poor responses to the Public Policy Proposal and to the various questions that constitute the equivalent of a personal statement. Additional suggestions can be found in a document prepared some years ago by the late Maurizio Vannicelli of the Political Science Department. Finally I urge you to read the general document on Proposal Writing: the Art of Persuasion.
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