Service-minded students nominated by Michigan State University for national Truman Scholarship

February 2, 2016

Four students involved in public service have been nominated by Michigan State University for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to affecting change through public service by providing them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students.

MSU’s nominees for the scholarship include Julia Christensen, an Honors College junior majoring in international relations in James Madison College; Sara Denbo, an Honors College junior majoring in astrophysics in the College of Natural Science and women’s and gender studies in the College of Arts and Letters; Austin Martin, a junior majoring in human biology in the College of Natural Science; and Rachel Poole, an Honors College junior majoring in social relations and policy in James Madison College and management in the Eli Broad College of Business.

University release quote: “These are student leaders on campus with the potential to make a difference in their fields,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “Michigan State University is proud to nominate them for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.”

Local newspaper release quote: “(Name of student) is a student leader on campus with the potential to make a difference in (his/her) field,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “Michigan State University is proud to put forward (his/her) name for nomination for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship and wish (him/her) well in (his/her) future endeavors.”

The National and International Fellowships and Scholarships (NIFS) Office, 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.

Michigan State University has produced 16 Truman Scholars.

Christensen is from East Lansing, Michigan and a graduate of East Lansing High School. An active member of the President's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, she encouraged the creation of wheelchair accessible seating for the football stadium’s student section.

Additionally, Christensen is a representative for the Council of Students with Disabilities to the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU).

“I chose to apply for a Truman Scholarship because of my desire to have an impactful career in public service. My ultimate goal is to improve access to education for students with disabilities in Eastern Europe,” Christensen said. “Democratic participation and a strong civil society are vital in the developing democracies of that region, and both of these require a strong education system and well-educated citizens.”

Denbo is from Lindenhurst, Illinois and a graduate of Grayslake North High School. She’s a Dean’s Research Scholar for the College of Natural Science and a member of the college’s Student Advisory Council.

Additionally, Denbo is active in Spartan Women in Physics and Astronomy.

“As someone transitioning from purely scientific work to science and technology policy, I have spent the past year making personal connections within the policy world,” Denbo said. “Applying for the Truman Scholarship was a natural step. As a result of the application process, I feel more prepared to navigate the field of graduate schools and to align myself with the best opportunities possible for my future career.”

Martin is from Eastpointe, Michigan and a graduate of East Detroit High School.

He’s active in the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience.

Additionally, he has volunteer experience with the Harlem Hospital Family Center and Village Summit, a youth center in Lansing, and the Global Youth for Education and Change Student Organization at MSU.

“In my lifetime, I hope to genuinely serve others. I hope to write a more just chapter in human history. And I ultimately hope to redraw the boundaries of human love and compassion,” Martin said. “The Truman Scholarship offers a platform for channeling these desires into my academic and professional life and I am absolutely grateful for the opportunity to continue moving forward in the process.”

Poole is from Sunfield, Michigan and a graduate of Lakewood High School. She currently is an intern for the Lansing City Council and a works with the Michigan Campus Compact.

Additionally, she founded the Lakewood Resource Hub, a community organization that builds capacity by publicizing area resources and opportunities to become involved in civic life. Poole is also a member of the board for the Lakewood Area Chamber of Commerce.

"The students who are chosen as Truman Scholars get connected to aspiring and established change agents around the country,” Poole said. “Becoming part of this supportive community would help me toward my goal of addressing rural poverty through a career in community development and policymaking."