Three Michigan State University student leaders nominated for Truman Scholarship

February 5, 2014

Three student leaders at Michigan State University have been nominated for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

The scholarship nominees are: Joel Arnold, a junior majoring in social relations and policy in the James Madison College and urban and regional planning in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Jolisa Brooks, an Honors College member and junior majoring in political theory and constitutional democracy in the James Madison College; and Sean Fitzpatrick, an Honors College member and junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies in social science in the College of Social Science and arts and humanities in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.

 “All three of these students are passionate about public service,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “Michigan State University has given them the opportunity to explore their passions and we are pleased to nominate them for the Truman Scholarship. We look forward to seeing what each one will accomplish next.”

Michigan State has previously produced 16 Truman Scholars.

Arnold is from Davison, Michigan and a graduate of Davison High School. He is a squad leader for the MSU Spartan Marching Band and president/co-founder of LiveWorkDetroit! at MSU.

Arnold served as an intern for the City of Flint Planning Department, and as an intern for Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, an MSU Truman Scholar in 1995. He has volunteered in several Genesee County political campaigns and currently works as a store manager for MSU Sparty’s convenience store. He’s the recipient of the Davison Community School’s Music Program Scholarship.

He plans to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning.

“Given my experience in Flint and Detroit, it would be essential to have a federal level internship in Washington, D.C.,” Arnold said. “I would be interested in participating in this opportunity and would like to work on issues related to urban development or transportation.”

Brooks is from Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Renaissance High School. She is president of the Case Hall Black Caucus and served as a Spartan Ambassador to China as part of a Residence Education and Housing Services program. Brooks has studied biodiversity crisis in Madagascar and has served as a resident assistant in Case Hall.

She was an intern for Trout Unlimited in Washington, D.C. Brooks serves as a peer educator for the MSU’s Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Program, a volunteer for the Taking it to the Streets Service Program, and is a volunteer for the James Madison College Leadership Club. She is the recipient of the MSU Black Alumni Scholarship, the Donald and Barbara Koch Environmental Studies Scholarship, the Midnight Golf Scholarship, and the Michael J. Berkeley Memorial Scholarship.

Brooks plans to pursue a master’s degree in philosophy with a concentration in environmental policy.

“I have always known that I wanted to dedicate my life to public service,” Brooks said. “If I receive the Truman Scholarship, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in globalization and development. I hope to influence social policy both domestically and abroad and ultimately work in the United Nation’s Social Development Division.”

Fitzpatrick is from Plymouth, Michigan and graduated from Canton High School. He has served as a research assistant, and is currently working on a grant proposal to investigate the causes of municipal fiscal stress.

He is a leader in the student group, COMPASS, and the news editor and contributor for RCAHive Literary Magazine. He previously worked as an intern for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and created a voter education campaign for the City of Grand Haven.  Fitzpatrick is a National Merit Scholar and the recipient of a MSU Distinguished Freshman Scholarship.

He plans to pursue graduate degrees in urban planning and social work.

“I want to continue the interdisciplinary approach I have taken in my undergraduate studies and focus it on urban communities and civic development,” Fitzpatrick said. “Upon completing graduate studies, I want to hit the ground running and start working to connect citizens to their local government, taking the skills I’ll have learned in creating space for dialogue and applying them to government representation.”

The mission of the Truman Scholarship Foundation is to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to effecting change through careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service; and to provide them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service.

The National and International Fellowship and Scholarship (NIFS) Office at Michigan State University, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes. The Honors College serves academically talented, committed students who wish to pursue and achieve academic excellence. The Honors College strives to ensure an enriched academic and social experience for our members and create an environment that fosters active, innovative learning.