African Americans in the 2015 Class of Truman Scholars

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has announced the selection of the 2015 Truman Scholars. Each Truman Scholar is awarded up to $30,000 for graduate study. They also receive priority admission to several top-tier graduate schools, have career and graduate school counseling opportunities, and are fast-tracked for internships within the federal government.

Truman Scholars must be U.S. citizens and be in the top 25 percent of their college class. They must express a commitment to government service or the nonprofit sector.

This year, 58 Truman scholars were selected from 688 candidates nominated by 297 colleges and universities. This year’s winners will assemble for a leadership development workshop at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, in late May.

Of this year’s 58 Truman Scholars, it appears that 11, or 19 percent, are African Americans.

(L to R) Top row: Amanda Allen, Darrius Atkins, Rashaun Bennett, Andre Evans, Qiddist Hammerly, and Donovan Hicks. Bottom row: Louis Laine, Krystal McLeod, Caylyn Perry, Mya-Lee Roberson, and Olivia Smith.

Amanda Allen is a junior at the University of Louisville, where she is majoring in communication and political science. At the university, she is the executive director of the Engage, Lead, Serve Board which oversees student service projects on campus. She hopes to earn a master’s degree in education and then enroll in law school.

Darrius Atkins is the junior class president at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He is majoring in political science with a concentration in American government. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and then attend law school. He has interned in the Illinois House of Representatives and at Goldman Sachs.

Rashaun Bennett is a political science major at Davidson College in North Carolina. He is also pursuing a minor in economics. He has worked with local public schools to increase enrollment in Advanced Placement programs. Bennett plans to earn a master’s degree in public policy.

Andre Evans is a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. A native of Chicago, he is majoring in naval architecture. He is the president of the Midshipmen Black Studies Club and is the bass section leader for the academy’s gospel choir. He hopes to earn a graduate degree in social and urban policy.

Qiddist Hammerly is a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is majoring in social policy and her goal is to end racial disparities in education and the criminal justice system. She plans to study for a master of public policy degree.

Donovan Hicks is a vice president of the study body at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is double majoring in government and finance and pursuing a minor in accounting. He studied abroad in Germany and interned in southern India. He plans to obtain a master of public policy degree and go to law school.

Louis Laine is a native of Haiti but currently lives in New Jersey and is a student at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He is double majoring in philosophy and political science. He hopes to go to law school and become a civil rights attorney.

Krystal McLeod is a student at New York University. She is the founder of “My” Right to Learn, an education initiative for low-income minority youths. She has worked for Generation Citizen and was a United National Youth Representative for the NGO World Education Fellowship.

Caylyn Perry is a student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is double majoring in political science and history. She has held internship positions working in city halls in Philadelphia and Birmingham.

Mya-Lee Roberson is a junior at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She plans to pursue a master of public health degree and then a Ph.D. in epidemiology. She is particularly interested in cancer treatment and prevention efforts among Black women.

Olivia Smith is a student at Seattle University in Washington State. She is double majoring in political science and Spanish. She hopes to go to law school. A four-year varsity letter winner in three sports in high school, Smith is a member of the university’s rowing team.

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