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.

2023 – 2024 UW Nominees:


Ahmad Hilal Abid

Class of 2025, Political Science Major

I immigrated to the United States in 2018 at age 17 from Afghanistan. I established the House of Wisdom in 2020 during the pandemic in my father’s garage, originally accommodating 20 local immigrants and refugees. Over time, the organization has expanded its reach and now provides personalized tutoring, cultural learning programs, and other valuable resources to hundreds of students. I hold two degrees in paralegal and general studies from Edmonds College, and I am pursuing further studies in Political Science at the University of Washington.

At Edmonds College, I held various leadership positions such as Chair of the Student Trustee Committee, Chair of the Student Government Selection Committee, Executive Officer for Diversity, etc. I have received numerous awards and accolades for outstanding work both as a student and through the House of Wisdom. Notably, I was honored with the Governor’s Student Civic Leadership Award and nominated as one of two students from Edmonds College for the All-Washington Academic Team. The Washington State Senate also passed a resolution acknowledging my contributions to the House of Wisdom. Several local news outlets, including the Seattle Times, Everett Herald, My Edmonds News, and Lynnwood Times, have featured and recognized the impactful work of the House of Wisdom.

Currently, I am an elected Student Senator and Co-President of the House of Wisdom Chapter at UW Seattle. In my free time, I love to read books, go hiking, play soccer, and go to the gym.

Ahmad’s near-term and long-term goals: My short-term goal is to complete my undergraduate degree in political science and get involved in UW student body leadership. My long-term goal is to work to sustain the House of Wisdom nonprofit organization and attend law school for immigration law.

Ahmad’s tips for future applicants: Begin your scholarship search and application process well in advance. Scholarships often have deadlines, and applying early can give you more time to prepare a strong application. Always check your spelling and sentences and make sure to get your work reviewed by an academic advisor before submitting. Be confident, never get disappointed, and always have hope.

Bitaniya Giday

Class of 2025, Political Science & American Ethnic Studies Majors with a focus on African American Studies

Bitaniya Giday is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. As a community organizer, she hopes to dismantle internalized carceral logics through storytelling, community care, and healing to incite imaginative capacities for abolition. Her first collection of Poems, Motherland, explores her experiences as a first-generation black woman, focusing on reflecting her own family’s path of immigration across the world. As a cultural worker and university student, she works to restore autonomy to history’s originators by researching black women’s erasure and contradictory relationships to historical geographies. She was heavily involved in the community design and implementation of Restorative Community Pathways a multi-million dollar juvenile pre-court diversion program based in King County. She also serves as part of Wa Na Wari’s Black Spatial Histories cohort learning community-based oral history and Black memory work.

Bitaniya’s near-term and long-term goals: I plan on applying to joint PHD and JD programs. I am specifically looking to PHD in African American Studies focusing on abolition studies.

Bitaniya’s tips for future applicants: The Truman application process is an opportunity to reflect on all of your accomplishments as well as shaping how you plan on using your past experiences to inform who you plan to be in the future. Make sure to be as authentic as possible, and follow your intuition not what you think will sound good. Give your application to trusted folks in your community to read over, and give yourself plenty of time to meet with your letter of recommenders so that they have a clear idea of what you plan on writing, and how best to write a strong letter that coincides with your application!

Dereje Himbago

Class of 2025, Public Health – Global Health Major

I am a first-generation undergraduate student at the University of Washington, Seattle, majoring in public health and global health. For the past four years, I have actively participated in WyldLife, a faith-based organization that aims to promote positive relationships and spiritual growth among students in the North Lake region. I was part of the UW Cross Country and Track team. I’m also a member of the Black Student Union and Christ, the Son of God church in Seattle. I received the Scholar Award of Seahawks Players’ Equality & Justice Scholar, 2021, the Redmond High School Staff Scholarship, 2021, the Kaiser Permanente Scholarship, 2021, and English as a Second Language (ESL) Scholarship, 2021.

My goal is to enhance the well-being of individuals, especially those living in poverty in rural areas in low-income countries, particularly in educating women in rural areas, preventing diseases, and addressing food insecurity by providing them with access to the healthcare resources they need to lead healthy and productive lives. I also hope to collaborate with health organizations and policymakers to develop and implement effective policies for maternal and newborn health.

Dereje’s near-term and long-term goals: After graduation, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Global Health Metrics and Implementation Science to further advance my career goals. My plan is to pursue a career with the government or a nonprofit organization.

Dereje’s tips for future applicants: When working on your background and proposal for the Truman Scholarship, it’s beneficial to work with an advisor who can provide guidance and help you improve your writing skills. Even if you feel confident in your writing abilities, working with an advisor can be beneficial as they can offer suggestions to make your writing even stronger.

Juwayriyah Sheikh

Class of 2025, Public Health – Global Health and Psychology Majors

Juwayriyah Sheikh is a junior doing a double degree in Public Health-Global Health and Psychology at the University of Washington. She is guided by questions on ways we can create an equitable healthcare system for everyone, alleviate barriers to care particularly within communities of color, and the impacts policy has on public health. Juwayriyah is a part of a few student organizations such as Muslim Student Association and Students of Color for Public Health. She is currently on the Youth Advisory Council at Washington State Department of Health where she is able to share her thoughts and recommendations on what healthcare issues are most important to adolescents and young adults as well as assist in creating innovative solutions with other Youth Advisory Council members and Department of Health staff that are catered towards young Washingtonians so they are able to reach optimal health. Juwayriyah was a TRIO Student Teaching Intern in Autumn ’23 in which she provided freshmen students with support in navigating the university as a first-generation student. She is also involved with AMCHP’s Youth Voice Amplified and has completed programs with Kaiser Permanente such as virtual rounds and iHUMAN.

Juwayriyah intends to pursue a MPH where she can nurture her public health interests in areas of reproductive justice/maternal health, mental health, and health equity within underserved communities. She also hopes to pursue an MD to become a pediatrician and ultimately hopes to play a role in reforming the healthcare system. In her free time, she enjoys reading, exploring the city, and spending time with friends and family.

Juwayriyah’s near-term and long-term goals: I hope to apply to gain public health experience through internships, fellowships, or educational outreach before applying to MPH and MD programs so I can become a well-rounded applicant.

Juwayriyah’s tips for future applicants: It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the scholarship application but leaning into your support system is really important. Seeking feedback from OMSFA scholarship advisors and watching the webinars are great resources to help guide your application.

Scholarship Archive

Browse our archive for more Truman Scholarship history.