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University Relations

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Feb. 24, 2006
Contact: Sue Lorenz, Honors Program, (785) 864-4225.

KU junior from Derby advances to final round of Truman scholarship competition

LAWRENCE — Michelle Tran, University of Kansas junior from Derby planning a career in foreign service, has been selected for the final round of competition for a 2006 Truman scholarship. The national scholarships provide up to $30,000 for college students preparing for leadership in public service.

About 75 scholarship winners will be announced March 28 by the Truman Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Tran is among about 200 finalists selected from among more than 600 applicants nominated by their universities. Finalists will be interviewed by regional panels between March 3 and 17. Tran will be interviewed March 10 with other finalists from Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa and Missouri in the Charles Evans Whittaker Courthouse, 400 E. Ninth St., Kansas City, Mo.

Truman scholars are chosen on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of “making a difference.” As a condition of receiving funds, Truman scholars must work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a foundation-funded graduate degree program.

Since 1981, 15 KU students have won Truman scholarships, including David Adkins, executive vice chancellor for external affairs at KU Medical Center. Congress established the Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975 and the first scholarships were awarded in 1977.

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 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, which opened last fall, and cultural arts coordinator for Student Union Activities. An Honors Program student, Tran was selected as 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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