In Brief

Two Undergrads Named Truman Scholars

Award is given for leadership abilities and a commitment to public service
April 22, 2014

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Tufts undergraduates Amber Rose Johnson and Safiya Subegdjo have been named 2014 Truman Scholars, joining 59 other college and university juniors from around the country to be recognized for their leadership promise and commitment to public service.

Tufts is one of only five colleges and universities with more than one new Truman Scholar this year; it is the third time that two Tufts students have been selected for the award in the same year.

Truman Scholarships are named for the U.S. President Harry Truman, who was dedicated to education and public service; applicants submit a policy proposal that analyzes a societal issue and offers a thoughtful solution to the problem.

Amber Rose Johnson. Photo: Alonso NicholsJohnson, who is majoring in American studies and Africana studies, wrote her proposal on alternative education programs designed to help students finish high school. She is a tutor for sixth-grade English language arts enrichment in Boston schools, and says she wants to support youth development, particularly in communities of color.

There is a drop-out crisis in the United States, Johnson says, and far too many students are not graduating from high school. Her policy proposal debunks the negative stereotypes associated with students who have left school and aims to support them with the option of a non-traditional educational experience that accommodates factors such as financial need or parental responsibilities.

Safiya SubegdjoSubegdjo, an international relations major, is interested in refugee resettlement. A co-leader of the Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program, she has organized a social support network for recently resettled refugees in the greater Boston area and has done extensive community service in Boston and global health work in Indonesia and Jordan. She is in the Bachelor’s/Master of Public Health dual-degree program and plans to pursue a medical degree so she can work with underserved immigrant and refugee communities.

Subegdjo is also a Tisch Scholar at Tufts, participating in a multi-year leadership program offered by the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

“It is wonderful to have two Tufts students recognized as outstanding candidates for future public service leadership, since active citizenship and civic engagement are central values for us at Tufts,” says Alan D. Solomont, the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean at Tisch College.

This year’s class of Truman Scholars was chosen from among 655 candidates nominated by 293 colleges and universities. Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate study and priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities in the federal government.