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KU nominates four juniors for Truman Scholarship

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has nominated four outstanding juniors for Harry S. Truman Scholarships.

The students are competing for the prestigious national awards, which provide up to $30,000 for graduate study. The awards are given to college juniors for leadership in public service. They are highly competitive, with only about 60 Truman Scholars named nationwide each year.

This year’s KU nominees:

  • Jesse Burbank, originally from Quinter, majoring in economics, history and political science
  • Shegufta Huma, from Bel Aire, majoring in political science
  • Abigail Schletzbaum, from Lawrence, majoring in global and international studies, public administration and mathematics
  • John (Ike) Uri, from Concordia, majoring in economics and sociology

Criteria for the nominations include an extensive record of campus and community service, commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit and advocacy sectors, communication skills and a high probability of becoming a "change agent," and a strong academic record with likely acceptance to the graduate school of the candidate’s choice. The campus nomination process is coordinated through the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships, which is housed in the University Honors Program and open to all KU undergraduates.

Scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Since 1981, 18 KU students have become Truman scholars. Ashlie Koehn was the last KU student to receive the honor in 2015.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to President Harry S. Truman. Each year, a selection committee reviews applications from about 600 nominees for the Truman Foundation in Washington, D.C. Approximately 200 students will be named finalists in late February and invited for regional interviews in March and early April. The 60 or so Truman Scholars will be announced in late April.

More information about KU’s nominees is below:

Jesse Burbank, originally from Quinter, graduated from Bruton High School in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is the son of Lt. Col. Jeffrey and Leslie Burbank of Vicenza, Italy. Burbank's involvement at KU includes the Model UN, the Red Cross Club and the Student Senate Elections Commission. A member of the University Honors Program, he participated in the 2015 “London Review” Study Abroad program. During summer 2015, he interned in the office of Kansas State Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Shegufta Huma of Bel Aire graduated from Wichita East High School. She is the daughter of Mohammad Anwar and Anjuman Ara of Bel Aire. Huma's involvement at KU includes Student Senate, the Women of Color Collective, the Muslim Student Association and Margaret Amini Scholarship Hall. A member of the University Honors Program, she was also selected for the prestigious University Scholars Program in 2015. She is currently interning in Washington, D.C., with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Abigail Schletzbaum of Lawrence graduated from Free State High School. She is the daughter of Paul and Stacy Schletzbaum of Lawrence. Schletzbaum's involvement at KU includes Open World Cause and the Center for Community Outreach. She is on the board for the United Way of Douglas County and has volunteered with organizations such as the Willow Domestic Violence Center and Catholic Charities. A member of the University Honors Program, she studied abroad in Nepal in spring 2015. She is currently interning with the Douglas County Emergency Management department.

John (Ike) Uri of Concordia graduated from Concordia High School. He is the son of Larry and Theresa Uri of Concordia. Uri's involvement at KU includes serving as the executive director of the Center for Community Outreach and as a volunteer coordinator for the Plymouth Language Program. He has worked as a research assistant for the DeBruce Foundation in Kansas City and is a regular contributor to the Midwest Voices panel in the Kansas City Star. A member of the University Honors Program, he was also selected for the prestigious University Scholars Program in 2015. 


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The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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