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University Relations

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Feb. 16, 2006
Contact: Sue Lorenz, Honors Program, (785) 864-4225.

KU nominates three juniors to compete for national Truman scholarships

LAWRENCE — Three University of Kansas juniors have been nominated to compete for a 2006 Truman scholarship. The national scholarships provide up to $30,000 for college students preparing for leadership in public service.

KU’s nominees are Leslie Eldridge, Midwest City and Norman, Okla.; Timothy Stauffer, Iola and Holland, Mich.; and Michelle Tran, Derby. All plan to graduate in 2007.

A selection committee is reviewing applications from about 600 candidates for the Truman Foundation in Washington, D.C. Approximately 200 nominees will be named finalists on Feb. 21. Those finalists will compete for up to 75 scholarships that will be announced on March 28.

Regional panels interview the finalists and make recommendations for the 75 scholarships available nationally. Truman scholars are chosen on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of “making a difference.” Candidates must be planning careers in public service and must propose a solution to a public policy issue as part of their application.

Truman scholars must work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a foundation-funded graduate degree program as a condition of receiving Truman funds.

Since 1981, 15 KU students have become Truman scholars. The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 and made its first scholarship awards in 1977.

KU’s 2006 nominees, their academic interests and achievements, leadership activities, policy proposals, parents’ names and high schools are included in the following brief biographical sketches:

Leslie Eldridge is majoring in political science and international studies. She plans to pursue a doctorate in international development to prepare for a career in foreign aid and development. Ultimately she would like to be a policy analyst for the World Bank. At KU, Eldridge was elected to Student Senate and has chaired the Student Lecture Series Board. As co-director of the Student Legislative Awareness Board, Eldridge has lobbied in the state legislature for a bill to benefit student tenants and other tenates in Kansas. She is a member of the KU Honors Program, the Dean’s Scholars Program and Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She was selected as a 2005-06 Woman of Distinction by the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center. Eldridge’s policy proposal, addressed to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, supports reconsidering the 2005 rejection of President Bush’s suggested reallocation of $300 million in foreign aid funds from direct to local and triangular food aid. Eldridge writes that “Congress must shift its emphasis from dumping United States surpluses to encouraging self-sufficiency of agricultural markets.” She is a Norman (Okla.) High School graduate. Eldridge is the daughter of Lynn and Greg Summers, Norman, Okla., and Bob and Barbara Eldridge, Midwest City, Okla.

Timothy Stauffer, a sociology major with minors in English and economics, plans to pursue a doctorate in public policy. His long-range career goals are to work toward alleviating rural poverty and other inequalities through education reform, perhaps as an administrator in a state education office or as an elected official. He is secretary of the board of Ecumenical Christian Ministries in Lawrence and is active in ECM’s weekly community lunch program and Faith Forum, a discussion of contemporary issues from a religious perspective. Stauffer coordinates MILK (Mentoring in the Lives of Kids), a volunteer program in Lawrence elementary schools, and has taught cooking and nutrition classes during the summer for schools in Iola and in the after school program at Central Junior High School in Lawrence. This year, Stauffer founded Central’s first photography club, in which students learn to use cameras and a darkroom as well as visit exhibitions and meet with local photographers. At KU, Stauffer is an Honors Program student and has chaired committees at Grace Pearson Scholarship Hall. His policy statement, addressed to Robert Corkins, Kansas commissioner of education, proposes that early dismissal programs in Kansas schools be eliminated in favor of late-start programs. Stauffer points out late-start programs can save costs and staff development time without the disadvantages of increased, unsupervised afternoon releases. Stauffer is an Iola Senior High School graduate. He is the son of Susan Lynn, Iola, and Clay Stauffer, Holland, Mich.

Michelle Tran is majoring in journalism and Russian and East European studies with a minor in Arabic. She is planning a foreign service career and would like to serve in the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe and China. Tran was one of 20 students nationwide selected last fall for a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship for outstanding students planning careers in foreign service. She was one of only two student representatives selected by Oxfam America to attend the Oxfam International Youth Parliament-Youth Exchange for Trade Justice in Hong Kong in December 2005. Tran is the first president of Dennis E. Rieger Scholarship Hall that opened last fall and cultural arts coordinator for Student Union Activities. An Honors Program student, Tran was selected a Kansas Asia Scholar (China program) and a University Scholar. She is also a Multicultural Scholar through KU’s Multicultural Scholar Development Program. Tran’s policy proposal, addressed to U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., U. S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, points out that the majority of farm subsidies go to the largest agribusinesses and asks that Congress “limit the amount of farm payments any one recipient is allowed to receive and close loopholes in the system.” Tran is a 2003 graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and is the daughter of Chinh and Lan Tran, Derby.


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