Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship supports the graduate and professional development of students committed to public service leadership. Each year the foundation selects approximately 60 scholars for this competitive national award. Applicants must be nominated by their universities to compete for this national program and the University of Washington is able to nominate 4-6 candidates each year. Students who are in their third year of study are eligible to apply for nomination.

Learn more about the Truman Scholarship Program and UW’s nomination process.

View the Truman Scholarship directory for a comprehensive list of scholars.

2021 – 2022 UW Scholars & Finalists:


Rosalie Fish, 2022 Scholar

Junior, Social Welfare

Rosalie Fish

My name is Rosalie Fish, and I’m a 20 year-old student athlete and advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. I applied for the Truman scholarship because I want to use my education to bring social welfare to the tribes around Washington state.


Hayden Goldberg, 2022 Nominee

Junior, Political Science; Economics

Hayden Goldberg is a junior double majoring in Political Science and Economics, and is part of the Interdisciplinary Honors Program. Hayden is an active member of multiple clubs, including the neuroscience journal Grey Matters where he is the special projects manager, Model United Nations where he is the fundraising officer, and the triathlon club. Hayden also serves as the co-chair of the Arts and Sciences Advisory Council for Students, which is the student advisory board for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has pursued research projects in political science, history, and rhetorical studies.

After taking a course on the history of voting rights in summer 2020, Hayden became passionate about voting rights and ensuring that everyone has the right to vote. To that end, Hayden works on voting expansion and inclusion, through voter registration events and get out the vote work. Hayden intends to go to law school and work in election law, litigating voting rights and redistricting cases. One day Hayden would like to see the standards for provisional ballots clarified and design new ways to make voting easier and more inclusive.


Lillian Williamson, 2022 Nominee

Junior, Environmental Studies; Political Science

MLillian Williamson is a junior majoring in political science and environmental studies with interdisciplinary and departmental honors at the University of Washington, where she is the 2019-2021 Mary Gates Honors Scholar. Her studies and advocacy work focus primarily on the intersection of civil rights, environmental justice, and public policy. At the UW, she directs the Associated Students of the University of Washington’s Queer Student Commission, is the co-founder of The Historical Review, an undergraduate history journal, and serves on the executive board of the Young Democrats and the philanthropy committee of pre-law professional fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. Outside of school, she is a Commissioner with the City of Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Commission and lobbies for improved public schools and behavioral health services with the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Health Care Authority. In addition, she is a lead volunteer with the #FurFreeWA environmental campaign and a board member at the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education network of Washington. In her spare time, Lillian loves to spend time outdoors and with animals.

Lillian’s commitment to public service and intersectional environmental activism inspired her to seek nomination for the Truman scholarship. Inspired by her work in policy creation at the state level and advocacy on environmental issues, she plans to pursue a law degree with a focus on environmental law.


Wendi Zhou, 2022 Nominee

Junior, History; Philosophy

Wendi Zhou

I am a junior double studying History and Philosophy who intends to pursue graduate studies in Human Rights or Peace and Conflict Studies upon graduation, and eventually a PhD. Growing up in a rooming house, I have learned firsthand the struggles that many of my housemates went through in finding economic security and dignity in a country that often does not treat people of color, immigrants, working class people, and those with disabilities with respect—among others. This experience has shaped my view of structural injustice not as an abstract problem to be solved but rather as an issue that’s ultimately concrete, relational, and always involving real people.

The coursework I have completed in the histories of post-conflict societies and race, gender, and sexuality first inspired me to critically think about intersectionality in historical redress—in conjunction with my own family’s struggle to come to terms with the impact of WWII. As Chair of the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity’s Student Advisory Board, I have honed my skills in advocacy and coalition building for justice. Internships with the International Center for Transitional Justice, the Post-Conflict Research Center in Sarajevo, and other transitional justice and peacebuilding NGOs have also informed my goal of uplifting the voices of the most marginalized in reparative efforts. I aim to develop more intersectional and equitable frameworks in helping those most harmed by mass human rights violations seek repair and redress.

Outside of school and work, I can be found working on several short stories, running, or playing pickleball.

History of UW Undergraduate Nominees, Finalists, and Scholars



Chanise Jackson, 2021 Scholar

Junior, Law and Policy; Business Administration

Chanise Jackson

Chanise Jackson is a junior at UW Tacoma double majoring in Law and Policy/ Business Administration with a minor in Global Engagement. Chanise is the Co-Chair for the UW Tacoma Global Honors Program and President of the Urban Debate Society. Originally from Fredericksburg, VA Chanise developed a love for public service when growing up low-income and first generation meant relying on the community around her for needs, instructions, and hope alike. Since then, Chanise has served her hometown devastated by racial injustice, houseless-ness and poverty.

While protesting this summer Chanise co-founded Fredericksburg Free, a non-profit community organization that works to improve the lives of marginalized people. Chanise is passionate about writing poetry, Lupus awareness, public service, human rights, and activism. In her future career, Chanise wants to use her activism, experiences, and love for people to bring volume to the voices often silenced. Chanise hopes to achieve this domestically through litigation and then ultimately on a global scale through writing international human rights treaties.


Andre Jimenez, 2021 Scholar

Junior, Law & Policy

Andre Jimenez is a junior studying Law & Policy and minoring in Global Engagement at UW Tacoma. He hopes to pursue a law degree upon graduation. Post law school he plans to explore public service career options, which may include legal advocacy, policy reform, and/or elected office. Andre currently serves as the Student Leadership Council Co-Chair for the UW Tacoma Global Honors Program and the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (SIAS) Senator. He also serves as a Commissioner on the City of Tacoma’s Human Rights Commission, which studies, investigates, and mediates community issues that may result from discrimination. Prior to pursuing his undergraduate education, Andre worked in the non-profit sector as a fundraiser and development associate. In what little free time he has between working at the Tacoma Community College Foundation and studying he enjoys spending time with his family.


Naomi See, 2021 Scholar

Junior, Community, Environment & Planning; Environmental Studies

My work, studies, and research focus on affordable housing policy and provision. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, I saw the effects of substandard urban and rural housing on household health, opportunity, and wellbeing. As I continued to explore the topic of housing, I saw that it was foundational to every part of human life.
I split my time between school, research, and direct service. At my current place of work, the Low Income Housing Institute, I am involved in developing Tiny House Villages for chronically homeless individuals and affordable multifamily buildings for low wage workers and people exiting homelessness. Between my work and academic life, I engage every part of myself. I am a advocate, caretaker, financier, negotiator, researcher, organizer, and policy analyst.
I am determined to create a future where everyone can access the basic needs they require to fully reach their potential. Each day, I have the privilege of seeing the power of dignified shelter to transform people. I am rooted in the belief that all people have unique power, thoughts, and creativity within them. Inadequate housing stifles their ability to share those gifts with the world. We are all held back when any of us are kept down.
Therefore, I will center my life on ensuring that housing is accessible for everyone. I am most interested in exploring how the financial regulatory environment, innovative methods of delivery, and local land use policies and funding mechanisms contribute to the provision of housing.


Estey Chen, 2021 Finalist

Junior, Political Science

Estey Chen

I am a third-year interdisciplinary honors student studying history and political science. Raised by a single mother, I developed a passion for social justice. At UW, I found myself drawn to courses and experiential learning opportunities that contextualized my sense – as the daughter of Chinese immigrants – of global citizenship.

Courses like “The Cold War: Realities, Myths, Legacies,” awoke me to the importance of understanding cross-cultural histories to craft effective foreign policy. The course motivated me to apply for – and later receive a Boren Scholarship to study Indonesian language abroad. With “Comparative and International Courts,” I approached the course skeptical of the efficacy of international organizations but left confident in the power of independent and fair judicial systems to protect civil rights and uphold democratic norms. Meanwhile, beginning to hear fragments from my grandfather about his experiences fleeing famine and Japanese occupation motivated me to understand the modern and historical conflicts that spurred mass migration.

Outside of class, my internship in Congresswoman Jayapal’s office allowed me to guide constituents through the dizzying complexity of federal agencies. Informed by my family history, courses, and public service experiences, my desire to advocate for migrant communities and build more responsive government institutions through policy reform emerged. Through a position at USAID or the DOJ, I envision myself directing and implementing programs that support rule of law and civil society integration for migrants around the world, many of whom have been excluded from political processes.

2019 - 2020

Virginia Burton, 2020 SCHOLAR

Junior, Political Science

Virginia Burton

I am a non-traditional first generation college student. A 47 year old mother of three who is driven to create change in the United States prison system. In my free time I climb mountains and backpack hundreds of miles in the back country of the Pacific Northwest. My time in the mountains has taught me to keep moving forward toward my goals no matter how hard the climb to achieve them becomes. I love challenging myself and have fallen in love with attending school and learning. I have a dream of one day restructuring the way prison time is spent in Washington so the people inside of prisons learn the skills needed to set themselves free. I plan to climb toward my goals one step at a time until I reach them, leaving no one behind.

Meena Vasudevan, 2020 FINALIST

Junior, Law, Societies and Justice major

Currently I am applying to the Truman Scholarship and I am thinking about working as a Educator and in Education Policy and Advocacy in the future. I would like to work as a teacher in classrooms dominated by students of color for the first few years of my career before transitioning into graduate school. For graduate school I am considering either going into a PhD program in Education or getting both a JD and a Masters in Education. Currently, I would like to be an Education advocate / leader in the future and I am working on discerning wether I would like to do that through working with policy or if I would like to do that through work as a researcher and Professor at a University. Through this application process I want to be able to get clarity for what exactly my post graduate plans are. Right now I feel as though I have multiple interests pulling me all over the place and I am getting a bit lost trying to figure out which one to pursue. I am very connected to my South Asian / Tamil identity so I also am struggling with thinking about wether I would like to focus my work internationally or if I would like to focus my work in the United States- either way I believe there is room for me to work with anti-caste and anti discrimination education. I just have to figure out where I would like to focus my work geographically.

Kiss’Shonna Curtis

Junior, Psychology; Education, Communities and Organizations majors

I am currently in my third academic year at the University of Washington. I am double majoring in Psychology and Education, Communities, and Organizations (ECO). Through the classes that I’ve taken towards completing the ECO degree, I’ve been exposed to different social issues and ways of thinking about engaging with communities. The ECO degree is centered in asset based community development, and working alongside communities to bring lasting and equitable change and progress. I deeply value equity, liberation, and rehabilitation.I will be pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology to establish a career as a correctional psychologist. I am very passionate about one day working with the prison population, as I feel that it is a population that is greatly lacking in both educational and mental health resources. There are too many lives behind bars with untapped potential. While I am passionate about the rehabilitation of incarcerated individuals, I am also passionate about being involved politically to transform the state of our criminal justice system. I have worked with a nonprofit organization called The Prison Scholar Fund which aims to provide greater access to secondary education for those incarcerated. I am also hoping to get involved with an organization called Huskies for Opportunities in Prison Education (HOPE) along with volunteering at the King County youth detention center. I believe that the Truman scholarship will significantly help me solidify my academic trajectory so that I am able to bring about the change I want to see in our criminal justice system.

Mariama Sidibe


Junior, International Studies major

I am originally from Guinea, Conakry and moved to Seattle when I was 7 years old. I grew up in Shoreline, Washington and I attended Shoreline Public Schools from elementary to high school. I am a first generation college student who is very passionate about the realization of women’s rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the University of Washington, I study International Studies with a concentration in Human Rights at the Jackson School.
Outside of my studies, I am involved on campus through my Ellis Civic Fellowship as well as being the Historian of the African Student Association. I have a work study position at the UW Arts Ticket Office as a box office lead as well as Education Programs assistant at the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS).
From August to December 2019, I was a study abroad student with the School in Training (SIT) program in Senegal studying Global Security and Religious Pluralism. During my time with SIT, I was able to volunteer with the nonprofit CorpsAfrica as well as intern with the Association of Female Jurists. I was also able to improve my French and Fulani fluency.

I am applying to the Truman scholarship because I want to change the ways that Human rights organizations engage with women from the Global South, specifically women in Sub-Saharan Africa. The first changes I envision are within the recruitment for positions within the State Department as well as International NGOs. In order to create an engagement with African communities it is important to have diversity within the foreign affairs sector. Currently the majority of foreign affairs officers are white men, and I believe that there are gaps in community engagement with marginalized populations when those engaging with them cannot relate to them. Diversity within the decision making rooms also leads to a wider array of solutions as there are multiple perspectives in one room. Being one of the few black students within my major, I often provide a perspective ad a Black African woman that my white peers cannot. Judging from my own experiences, I know that public service needs to have workers who are just as diverse as the communities that are being engaged with
My long-term goal is to become a Human Rights Lawyer so that I may contribute to the framework of Human Rights. I want to have a position within an International Human Rights organisation such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. Attaining the Truman Scholarship will help me actualize my goal of going to Law School in order to study Human Rights.

Amber Torell

Junior, Law, Societies & Justice; Political Science majors

My name is Amber Torell and I’m a Horatio Alger Scholar, double majoring in Law Societies and Justice and Political Science, with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. As a first-generation student and daughter of a single mother, I grew up learning about perseverance in the face of difficult or seemingly impossible situations. After witnessing generational domestic violence and housing insecurity, I developed a passion for combatting violence against women and combatting severe poverty. My personal growth throughout my early life and into college has been centered around resiliency and using education for mobilization out of poverty. My growing interest in human rights led me to my involvement in Model United Nations my first year in college. This introduced me to international human rights policy and its role in guiding governments towards peace and stability. After completing two undergraduate research projects– one relating to human rights and war crimes in Latin America and the other, exploring human trafficking in international courts– I came to understand that global peace and stability are directly rooted in the status of women and their role in peace building after conflict. In the fall of 2019, I interned for Senator Patty Murray in Washington, which allowed me to explore the ways that public officials use legislation and policy to influence the well-being of constituents in their states. Completing this internship strengthened my passion for ensuring human rights through public service. My future is dedicated to advocating for U.S. foreign policy that engages women in the solutions of international conflict, and which seeks to empower women into the economy to elevate people out of poverty. I hope to pursue a joint degree earning a J.D. and master’s degree in foreign service and pursue a career in international conflict resolution.

Meena Vasudevan, 2020 FINALIST

Junior, Law, Societies and Justice major

Currently I am applying to the Truman Scholarship and I am thinking about working as a Educator and in Education Policy and Advocacy in the future. I would like to work as a teacher in classrooms dominated by students of color for the first few years of my career before transitioning into graduate school. For graduate school I am considering either going into a PhD program in Education or getting both a JD and a Masters in Education. Currently, I would like to be an Education advocate / leader in the future and I am working on discerning wether I would like to do that through working with policy or if I would like to do that through work as a researcher and Professor at a University. Through this application process I want to be able to get clarity for what exactly my post graduate plans are. Right now I feel as though I have multiple interests pulling me all over the place and I am getting a bit lost trying to figure out which one to pursue. I am very connected to my South Asian / Tamil identity so I also am struggling with thinking about wether I would like to focus my work internationally or if I would like to focus my work in the United States- either way I believe there is room for me to work with anti-caste and anti discrimination education. I just have to figure out where I would like to focus my work geographically.

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2018 – 2019

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Byron Dondoyano, Nominee

Junior, Law, Societies & Justice major

Byron Dondoyano

I am a junior majoring in Law, Societies, and Justice with minors in both Education and Political Science. I plan to pursue a Master’s in Education Policy to help work towards creating a more equitable education system.

I grew up in South Seattle in a community that fully accepts and embraces diversity. I have been able to utilize the privilege of growing up in a diverse community to be a better ally and advocate within the UW community- especially during my time serving as a UW Student Senator. These last two years as a Senator, I have focused my efforts towards extending the University of Washington’s policies on religious accommodations in order to make UW a more equitable institution. My experiences working and collaborating in diverse, multicultural, and inclusive settings through partnering with coalitions as well as spending hundreds of hours in the classroom has helped me better my own understanding of other cultures so that I can best serve my university and community. From these experiences, I have gained a greater understanding of the problems surrounding our education system, and am committed to working towards education policy solutions. As one of the University of Washington’s Truman Scholar nominees, I am proud to represent my school and community in the National fight for a more equitable education system.

Byron’s tips for future applicants: Start your search early and seek out scholarships that match who you are. Continue to get experience in different areas that interest you, as college is one of the most formative times in life. While scholarships for nationally competitive awards take a lot of time and energy, they can help guide your life and career interests.

Ava Sharifi, Nominee

Junior, Political Science major

Ava Sharifi

Ava Sharifi is a junior studying Political Science at the University of Washington. She is currently the Director of the ASUW Middle Eastern Student Commission, an entity that advocates for and celebrates Middle Eastern culture. She is also the Chair of the On-Campus Committee within the ASUW Student Senate, representing the passage of student-written legislation about on-campus issues. After graduation, Ava wishes to move to Washington D.C. to gain work experience before she heads off to graduate school. A previous legislative intern for Senator Bernie Sanders, Ava wants to continue working with progressive politicians on the Hill. Afterwards, she wants to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD that focuses on domestic institutional failures.

In the end, Ava wants to run for public office with a progressive agenda in mind that highlights criminal justice, healthcare, and campaign finance reformation. If she receives the award, Ava is confident that the Truman Scholarship will help her attend one of the top graduate schools in the nation and become an educated and cultured political scientist and politician.

Stacie Tao, Nominee

Junior, Early Childhood & Family Studies and Social Welfare major

Stacy Tao

My heart and work are centered around providing the most positive experiences for our nation’s most vulnerable populations of children. My time with Jumpstart and Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington allowed me to work with Head Start preschools in the Greater-Seattle Area to confront and research the opportunity gap in early education. Alongside my work at Childhaven, a local non-profit that partners with children and their families to provide wrap-around services through a trauma-informed lens, these experiences sparked a passion for pursuing a lifetime of work to challenge the systemic barriers to quality education and to seek healing in the intergenerational effects of child maltreatment. I hope to continue my education through a dual-master’s in social work and public health, with plans to advocate for education and child welfare policy.

Jacoy Willis, Nominee

Junior, Political Science major

Jacoy Willis

I have become very involved in activities at UW, both in the Political Science Department and the community as a whole. As Vice President of the Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha, I have increased a sense of community within the department and have implemented several public service and community-based events. I am currently working on multiple research projects with Political Science faculty and am taking graduate-level courses to prepare me for graduate school.

With the Truman Scholarship, I intend to pursue a PhD in Political Science at Stanford University, focusing on Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Methodology. I plan to pursue graduate school after spending a year in Kenya with a Fulbright Scholarship to grow my worldview and research experience. Throughout graduate school, I will volunteer as an election observer with the US Institute of Peace, Democracy International, or the UN, in which I would travel to unstable democracies during elections and monitor the institution. Immediately after graduate school, I hope to work with USIP or Democracy International as a program assistant in the Middle East or Sub-Saharan Africa. At either institution, I would be serving to assist refugees, research and analyze policies, consult on and monitor institutional progress, or helping to build capacity, aid, and development. My dream job would be the US Secretary of State, in which I can advise the president on foreign affairs and execute real change through policy and directing the US Agency for International Development. After these experiences, I hope to become a professor at a world-renowned research university and help inspire the next generation of political scientists and public servants!

2017 - 2018

Rachel Gerstenfeld, Finalist

Psychology and Law, Societies & Justice (intended) major

Rachel Gerstenfeld

My name is Rachel Gerstenfeld, and I am double majoring in Psychology and Law, Societies and Justice, with a minor in Music. I am interested in the Truman Scholarship because I see it as an invaluable opportunity to become part of a large network of public service leaders across the country. I plan to attend law school and earn a JD, specializing in law around gender-based violence issues. This field of work sparked my interest after I completed training to become a Peer Health Educator on campus. As part of the Peer Health Educator Leadership Team, I spearheaded the launch of a campaign named “It’s On Us UW” in Spring 2017. It’s On Us aims to empower students and staff to create a community that is truly resilient against sexual violence. During spring quarter, my team and I traveled all over campus facilitating It’s On Us presentations and spreading the message. The following summer, I interned as a Protection Order Advocate in the Regional Justice Center. I had the opportunity to provide services to domestic violence survivors, helping them establish a safety plan, form their statements, and navigate the court system. My time spent in the courtroom solidified my passion for violence prevention and advocacy work.

Ashley Lewis, Nominee

Aquatic Fisheries Sciences (intended) major

Ashley Lewis

I am, and always will be, an advocate for the great outdoors. Fishing and hiking on the Olympic Peninsula is where you can find me outside of the classroom. As a fishing guide, sharing my passion with others has taught me much about needs of our outdoor spaces. My experiences as a fishing guide helped me see that I wanted to make a greater impact than on one river, so I returned to higher education. As a student, my goal is to continue my education on through an M.S. of Aquatic Fisheries Science at the University of Washington. Professionally, I want to work in policy to help strengthen Pacific Northwest fisheries. Through outreach and advocacy, I want to educate people in outdoor recreation while showing them that investing in outdoor spaces benefits us all. As a Truman Scholar hopeful, I want to show that leaders can even come as female Native American fishing guides.

Rodha Sheikh, Nominee

Law, Societies & Justice (intended) major

Rodha Sheikh

I am a third year at the UW studying LSJ. I plan to pursue an Education policy program because I aim to bridge the educational gap that is present between wealthy and underfunded schools in the K-12 system. As an individual who attended two different high schools in the U.S., one dominated by low-income students and the other by middle-class, wealthy students, I noticed a great difference in the quality of education provided as well as the difference in advising provided. I also noticed a significant difference in the racial demographics between the two schools which lead me to learn about racism within the education system. Considering that education is a significant determinant of future quality of life, I find it necessary to improve its quality in underfunded schools and I plan to work on creating that change.

2016 - 2017

Melissa Guzman, Nominee

Law, Societies & Justice and Psychology major

Talia Haller, Nominee

Business Administration and International Studies major

Jolee Melink, Nominee

American Ethnic Studies and Social Welfare major

Elizabeth Purdy, Nominee

Social welfare major

Ernie Tao, Finalist

Biochemistry and Political Science major

Ernie Tao

Ernie is a Political Science and Biochemistry major at the University of Washington. Upon beginning his undergraduate studies, he worked as an EMT in the city of Seattle and then later moved on to work as a Firefighter/EMT in Skyway, Seattle. These experiences catalyzed his passion for public health, and he is particularly interested in the social determinants of health as a major contributor to disparities in health outcomes. His coursework and experiences with various research projects has allowed him to pursue quantitative studies in subjects such as food access, food insecurity, and food policy analysis. Ernie has also worked as a cancer immunology research assistant in the Ruddell Lab and as a youth tutor. He is a Princeton PPIA fellow, Mary Gates Research Scholar, Kaiser Scholar, and honors student in both majors. Upon graduation, Ernie hopes to peruse a dual masters in public health and public administration to one day serve as a public health administrator. Ernie plans to use his background in field medical work, research methods, and policy analysis to develop evidence-based health policy to promote individual and community health.

2015 - 2016

Laura Yanez, Nominee

UW Tacoma, Social Welfare major

2014 - 2015

Zachary Reshovsky, Nominee

International Studies major

Zachary Reshovsky

Zachary Reshovsky was born in Pasadena, California on December 2nd, 1993. Both artists by trade, Zachary’s father and mother had careers in cinematography and professional illustration respectively . At age 12, he moved up to San Juan Island, enrolling in a local alternative school. Here, he enjoyed engaging in a variety of subjects, ranging from creative writing to mock trial to geographic studies. Following 8th grade, his family moved to Bellevue, Washington, where he attended Interlake High School. At Interlake, he completed the rigorous International Baccalaureate program in 10th and 11th grade, one year ahead normal schedule. Zachary is currently a Freshmen with Junior standing in terms of credits. He is majoring in International Studies at the Jackson School with an East Asia Concentration and intends to work in diplomacy, intelligence, and/or international human rights law following his graduation.

Austin Wright-Pettibone, Nominee

International Studies and Chemical Engineering major, Mathematics minor

Austin Wright-Pettibone

Austin grew up in two households just outside of Seattle. His parents separated when he was two and he spent his childhood traveling back and forth between each of their houses. Growing up, he was always interested in science and in learning more about the world around him; he was fascinated with books and with the ways in which they showed different aspects of the human experience.

Austin first became interested in public service in high school after getting involved in the school newspaper. Hearing people’s stories and learning about their experiences fed that inner passion for education and it’s this interest in learning and storytelling that’s guided him through every public activity he has taken on. Whether on the campaign trail, in the White House, or lobbying for students down in Olympia, he is striving to not only advocate for the best position, but also to understand who that policy affects; public service isn’t just about pushing the right piece of legislation, it’s about creating access points so that others too can take up the mantle and push for their own “right” piece of legislation. It’s a collaborative process, in which education and inclusion become central to the very act of public service.

In the future, Austin hopes to continue work in the public arena through the Office of Science and Technology Policy. It is his goal to work both as a policy adviser and as an educator, bringing new people and ideas to the forefront of science and technology policy, so that all can continue to advance our society in meaningful ways. Austin also hopes to work as an educator within higher education, developing within our next generation ideas of collaboration, interdisciplinary thinking, and inclusion. For it is only on the basis of these values that various forms of knowledge can be utilized to solve complex social and economic problems.

Austin currently serves as the director of the Office of Government Relations in the Associated Students of the University of Washington. He is working towards a B.A. degree in International Studies and a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering. Austin looks to graduate from the UW in 2016.

2013 - 2014

Zoraida Arias, Nominee

Italian studies and Law, Societies, & Justice major

2012 - 2013

Elise Butterfield, Nominee

Dance: Creative Studies, International Studies majors

Philmon Haile, Nominee

International Studies major

Philmon Haile

Philmon Haile’s background, formative events in his early years, participation in OneWorld Now!, and his pursuit of higher education have fueled his passion to address global issues of equal access to education for underrepresented youth. Philmon was born in Sudan to Eritrean parents, who were both soldiers in the Eritrean War of Independence. He arrived as a refugee in Seattle at age three. He speaks Mandarin, Arabic, and Tigrinya.

Through OneWorld Now! (OWN), a global leadership program for underserved high school students, Philmon began to study Mandarin Chinese and develop leadership skills. Through the support of OWN, he spent his junior year in the U.S. House of Representatives Page Program. In his senior year of high school, he was awarded an OWN study abroad scholarship to Anshan, China for an academic year where he attended a local high school.

Following high school graduation, Philmon was accepted to Swarthmore College, where he was involved in a Chinese NGO that promotes awareness of Hansen’s disease survivors, leading a work camp in a rural village in Southern China recovering from the disease. At UW, he began to study Arabic, earning a U.S. State Department internship working at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing with Ambassador Gary Locke. Last summer, he studied Arabic in Jordan and began formulating his Fulbright research project while there.

Philmon was recently chosen to speak on a panel and present an award to Ambassador Gary Locke in Washington, D.C. Soon after, First Lady Michelle Obama quoted Philmon in a major speech in Beijing about the importance of studying abroad. After his Fulbright year in Jordan, Philmon will begin graduate study as a Rangel Fellow and looks forward to a career in the State Department Foreign Service.

Binh Vong, Nominee

International Studies, Political Science majors

Angelica Weiss, Nominee

History, Political Science majors

2011 - 2012

Alice Dabney Donigan, Nominee

Art History major

2010 - 2011

Jaison Briar, Finalist

Geography and Women’s Studies major

Jaison Briar is a Junior working towards his BA. He is a long-term service provider with local street youth, and has recently left full-time work to start a non-profit, the Seattle Street Youth Empowerment Project. The project is a radical weekend drop-in space for homeless youth, run by the youth accessing the program. Jaison has also been a long term supporter of sex positive, queer and transgender communities. His work in these communities has been both as an activist and an advocate. As an activist, Jaison has been a critical player in local transgender insurance reform. As an advocate, Jaison runs monthly transgender employment workshops in the Seattle area, connecting transgender job seekers to hard and soft skills they’ll need to be competitive in today’s job market. He has also created several sex-positive spaces for marginalized communities, and runs a zine project, “TransSEXUAL” highlighting transgender sexualities. Jaison hopes to receive a dual Ed.D. in Policy and Special Education. After college, Jaison wants to help create intervention policies in the public school system to prevent youth homelessness in marginalized communities.

Derrick De Vera, Nominee

Communication and Political Science major

I am constantly inspired to pursue ambitious dreams and goals because of my Filipino-immigrant parents. I am double majoring in Communication and Political Science and plan to pursue a Master of Public Administration as well as a Law Degree. I hope to work for a government agency in Washington D.C. in the legal and educational fields. Ultimately, I aspire to become a University of Washington Professor working on criminal justice and educational issues, especially in communities of color. My passion in law, politics and education is rooted in my commitment to improving the lives of underrepresented youth through public service.

I am actively involved in my Filipino-interest fraternity Omega Phi Omega Inc. (Kuyas) promoting community service projects. I have worked with MESA, tutoring and mentoring Seattle Public Schools minority students. Throughout my undergraduate experience I have taken great pride in being a Husky. I am currently a Resident Adviser at Stevens Court Apartments developing a sense of on-campus community with a diverse group of residents. I have been a FIG Leader assisting first year students in their transition to college life. I have also been a student season ticket holder for UW football and UW basketball since my freshmen year.

In my free time I enjoy playing and watching sports. I love all my local hometown sports teams (win or lose), including the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Storm, Seattle Sounders, the now gone Seattle SuperSonics and obviously any UW Husky team. I enjoy watching all different types of movies, from artsy indie films, huge action blockbusters and corny romantic comedies. I appreciate reading current affairs and political novels, memoirs and biographies. Most of all I love spending time with family and friends whether it is during the holidays, travelling or just hanging out around the house.

Andrew Lewis, Scholar

History and Political Science major

Emma Tessier, Nominee

Political Science major

2009 - 2010

Madeleine McKenna, Nominee

International Studies, Economics majors

Reece Johnson, Finalist

Political Science and Philosophy major

Geoffrey Morgan, Finalist

International Studies and Development, Civil & Environmental Engineering major

Samuel Withers, Nominee

Law, Societies, & Justice and Sociology majors

2008 - 2009

Samson Lim, Nominee

International Studies

Matthew Steele, Nominee

Economics, Community, Environment, & Planning

2007 - 2008

Bryce McKibben, Scholar

Political Science and Law, Society, & Justice major

Deva Wells, Nominee

Neurobiology major

2006 - 2007

Alula Asfaw, Scholar

Political Science and English Literature majors

Read the UW News article about Alula.

Cristina Domogma, Finalist

International Studies and Spanish majors

2005 - 2006

Bradford Baker, Nominee

Comparative History of Ideas major

Glorya Cho, Finalist

International Studies and Economics major

Glorya Cho

As an undergraduate, Glorya Cho participated in Model United Nations, volunteered with the global youth organization One World Now!, mentored a middle school student through the Journey Unlimited Mentoring Program, and completed honors-level research through the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. Upon graduation, she interned with an international non-governmental organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo, studied Korean in Seoul, and studied Mandarin Chinese in Beijing and Taiwan. As a Fulbright Fellow in Zambia, Cho will study the implications of globalization as seen through increases in Chinese migration and investment on youth development policy.

Stephanie Lin, Finalist

Neurobiology major

2004 - 2005

Kimberly Logan, Nominee

Loyce Mbewa, Scholar

Medical Geography major, Public Health minor

Mbewa, the oldest of ten children, was born in a small village in western Kenya and educated in Kenya for the first 14 years. She worked there for the World Bank, and for a French petroleum company for eight years, before leaving to join her family in Sacramento. In 1999 she moved to Seattle. Now a single parent, she worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was one of a select group of individuals accompanying Bill Gates, Sr., and President Jimmy Carter on a trip to Africa in 2002 to advance knowledge and awareness about HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

In her home village of Rabuor, which she hadn’t visited for five years, she found her aging mother was spending most of her waking hours trying to collect and prepare enough food for the growing throng of orphans created by the AIDS epidemic. (Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that the prevalence of AIDS in that region of Kenya is over 31 percent.) Normally festive village life had become dominated by funerals. “The experience changed my world,” she says. “I knew I needed to do something.”

Mbewa brought the lessons of her experience back to Seattle, sharing stories about the effects of AIDS on her family and her village. Through these discussions, a nonprofit organization, the Rabuor Village Project, was born. Mbewa became president of the project, which has secured funding to build and operate an orphan center, install a hand water pump in the village, and started a micro-credit financing for a women’s group which has was used to purchase oxen to help with plowing. The project and the initiative shown by the residents of Rabuor also have led to the region being selected as a site to receive free AIDS drugs and other forms of community support through the Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in Kenya, a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana University, and Moi University (Kenya)

“My future goal,” she says, “is to replicate these extraordinary successes which don’t require huge sums of money and fully utilizes the pre-existing community resources in other villages, and to share what I have learned with other agencies nationally and internationally. In Africa, at least 60 percent of the people are living in villages, but most of the international programs have no grass roots strategy for working with the villages.”

Mbewa’s approach is to develop programs that are community-based and self-sustaining. Mbewa realized she needed a deeper background in public health and health policy to achieve her goals. She returned to school in 2002, first as a student at Seattle Central Community College, from which she graduated two years later. Last autumn, she entered the UW as a Martin Achievement Scholar, which provides funding for community college transfer students to the UW. Mbewa estimates she is still spending about 30 hours a week on the Rabuor Village Project, in addition to her academic studies and parenting her 16-year-old daughter, Audrey.

Mbewa plans to graduate in 2006 and then continue on to graduate school in public health. The Truman scholarship will provide $2,000 of support for her senior year and $24,000 for graduate study.

Kayanna Warren, Finalist

International Studies and History major

2003 - 2004

Nathan Herzog, Nominee

Lindsay Scola, Finalist

Political Science major

2002 - 2003

Megan Matthews, Finalist

English major

Elham Simmons, Nominee

2001 - 2002

Moon Hwang, Finalist

Comparative History of Ideas, International Studies majors

David Roberts, Finalist

Business Administration, Political Science

Meredith Sumpter, Finalist

Business Administration, International Studies

Allison Van, Scholar

Biology and Community & Environmental Planning (CEP) major

2000 - 2001

Jennie Keith, Nominee

David Roberts, Finalist

Business Administration, Political Science

Jasmin Weaver, Finalist

Community & Environmental Planning (CEP), Philosophy, and Political Science major

1999 - 2000

Suzanne Powell, Scholar

Biology and Women Studies major

1998 - 1999

Dawn Y. Hewett, Scholar

International Studies and Political Science major

1996 - 1997

R. Paul Stimers, Scholar

Political Science major

1992 - 1993

Rachel Seymour, Scholar

1987 - 1988

Virginia Velez, Scholar

Political Science major

1985 - 1986

Rebecca Sasaki, Scholar

1984 - 1985

Jacqueline Gerson, Scholar

Economics major

1979 - 1980

Kathleen Wareham, Scholar

Philosophy major