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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA senior awarded national Truman Scholarship

    Joseph Fu, a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology and philosophy, won a national Truman Scholarship. Each year, 60 scholarships are awarded to students across the nation by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.
    Joseph Fu, a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology and philosophy, won a national Truman Scholarship. Each year, 60 scholarships are awarded to students across the nation by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

    Joseph Fu walked across campus a week ago with a flock of balloons tied to his backpack and an embarrassed look on his face.

    Fu, a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology and philosophy, got the balloons in class when President Robert Shelton, representatives from Shelton’s office, the Honors College and scholarship coordinators told him he had won a national Truman Scholarship.

    “”I had to walk around all day with the balloons,”” Fu said. “”It was ridiculous.””

    Fu said he had planned to work on a thesis March 27 instead of attending class, but Karna Walter, the UA director of nationally competitive scholarships, convinced him to go.

    The Truman Scholarship, issued by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, is decided based on an extensive application and interview process to assess candidates’ scholarly and leadership abilities.

    The scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study, in addition to priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

    Fu is a Flinn Scholar and a fellow in the Collaboration to Advance Teaching Technology who has studied and volunteered in foreign countries including Myanmar, India and Thailand. He is also a governor-appointed member of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

    “”I had no idea about the depth and range of the things he’s done as an undergrad until I saw his resume,”” Walter said.

    Walter said she spent weeks helping Fu prepare his application and practice interviewing in front of the scholarship’s regional board.

    The interview itself, held “”in a basement”” at Arizona State University, was an intense process involving 12 candidates going before the panel one at a time, Fu said.

    “”It was incredibly nerve-wracking,”” Fu said. “”You hear these horror stories from everyone getting back from his interviews.””

    Fu said the panelists on one occasion interrupted his answer to a question about his leadership role model – the founder of Doctors Without Borders – and asked him to talk about a more well-known person.

    Walter said the Truman Scholarships go to about 60 students nationally every year, and each of the 280 participating universities can nominate up to four candidates. The UA usually submits four undergraduates for the scholarship and has had at least one winner four out of the last five years.

    The streak ended a period of about 10 years when no one from the UA won the scholarship, Walter said.

    Fu said he doesn’t know what he will do when he graduates in May 2008, but he has possible plans to go to medical school or get a master’s degree in public health.

    Fu will receive his award along with this year’s other Truman Scholars May 20 at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo.

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