Truman Scholarship honors junior for leadership potential

Ami Shah said she nervously entered President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s office April 2 after she received a mysterious phone call several days earlier.

To her surprise, Trachtenberg informed her she was one of this year’s 79 nationally recognized Truman scholars.

The Truman Fellowship, which was established in 1975 in memory of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, is awarded to students with outstanding leadership potential and a commitment to public service, according to the fellowship’s Web site. A stipend for undergraduate expenses and a potential internship are offered to the winners. In addition, Truman scholars receive $27,000 for graduate studies.

Shah, a junior international affairs major, said she underwent an intensive selection process for the honor. Judges interviewed finalists several times before making a decision.

Four GW students were among 200 finalists in the national competition; Shah was the only fellowship recipient in the region. She said she still is shocked by the news.

“If you do care about something, and you can share it with people, it’s nice to know you can be rewarded,” Shah said.

She plans to pursue a master’s degree in international development, followed by law school, she said.

Trachtenberg said he is enthusiastic to have a Truman winner at GW.

“We’ve got many GW students who have the ability to win these kinds of awards,” he said. “We just have to focus them on applying.”

Shah said part of her success can be attributed to the GW Office of Fellowships and Graduate Student Support, which aids students in preparing packages for fellowships and grants.

“The fellowship office is amazing,” Shah said. “It’s great to know such a support for students exists.”

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