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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Three vie for Truman scholarship

    Three UA students are waiting with bated breath to see if they have earned a prestigious scholarship worth $30,000 toward graduate studies in public service.

    Ana MuÇñiz, a women’s studies junior, Daniel Tuttle, an interdisciplinary studies senior, and Ryan Johnson, a senior majoring in economics and international studies, are all finalists for this year’s Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

    The scholarship recognizes undergraduates who are “”committed to making a difference through public service,”” according to the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation’s Web site.

    The foundation has only awarded scholarships to three UA students since it began in 1977 – Ian Larkin in 1995, John Gandomi in 2003 and Amy Schlossman in 2004 – and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano was awarded a Truman Scholarship in 1977.

    Tuttle, who has spent this year studying abroad in Chengdu City, China, flew into Phoenix just for the interview and plans to study the economic ties between China and East Africa over the next 15 to 20 years.

    “”I wouldn’t say I have high hopes,”” Tuttle said. “”They were a little dashed when I met the five other candidates from (Arizona) and saw how qualified they were. All of them were truly exceptional people, and each one is going to make a significant contribution to the world.””

    Tuttle said he hopes to perfect his Mandarin while studying abroad and would like to attend graduate school in London.

    “”The award is big enough to justify spending $1,000 on a plane ticket, so we’ll just see what happens,”” Tuttle said.

    As part of the selection process, each candidate interviewed individually with a panel that included former Truman scholars, politicians and government and academic figures.

    The Phoenix panel that interviewed Tuttle, MuÇñiz and Johnson included Art Hamilton, the former democratic minority leader in the Arizona House of Representatives, Court of Appeals Judge G. Murray Snow and former UA President Manuel T. Pacheco, according to the organization’s Web site.

    Johnson, who is an Arizona Daily Wildcat columnist, equated the interview process to testifying before a hostile senate, saying that the interviewers “”really like to give you a hard time and challenge you on your ideas.””

    Johnson said the two best parts of the process were learning more about himself through the complex application and meeting the other finalists.

    “”I can tell that lots of the finalists will be movers and shakers in the future, so it was an honor just to be in the group,”” Johnson said. “”The other finalists were impressive and I would be humbled to be picked.””

    Johnson said going abroad is one of the best ways to get the experience and to learn about the possibilities that can make a person competitive for scholarships like the Truman scholarship.

    MuÇñiz declined to comment about the scholarship.

    The three UA students are among 243 finalists selected this year from 156 universities around the United States. About 75 will be selected to receive up to $30,000 for graduate school.

    If any of them are selected for the scholarship, they will be required to work in some aspect of public service for three of seven years after completing a graduate program.

    The winner of the scholarship will be announced March 28.

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