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University Relations

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March 28, 2006
Contact: Sue Lorenz, Honors Program, (785) 864-4225.

KU junior from Derby wins Truman scholarship in national competition

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas junior from Derby planning a foreign service career has won a 2006 Harry S. Truman Scholarship providing up to $30,000 for college students preparing for leadership in public service.

Michelle Tran, majoring in journalism and Russian and East European studies with a minor in Arabic, becomes the 16th KU student to be named a Truman scholar. Tran is one of 75 scholarship winners selected by the Truman Foundation in Washington, D.C. Tran is the daughter of Chinh and Lan Tran of Derby.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway said, “I am proud to congratulate Michelle on this outstanding achievement. Michelle’s commitment to public service and her outstanding academic record will serve her well as a Truman scholar and in her future career in international service. She represents the best of students at KU and in Kansas.”

Madeleine K. Albright, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, announced the 2006 scholars, who represent 63 U.S. colleges and universities. The 75 Truman scholars were selected from more than 600 applicants nominated by their universities. Finalists were interviewed by regional panels between March 3 and 17. Tran interviewed March 10 with other finalists from Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa and Missouri in 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.

Last fall, Tran was one of 20 students nationwide selected for a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship for outstanding students planning careers in foreign service. In December 2005, she was one of only two student representatives selected to attend the Oxfam International Youth Parliament-Youth Exchange for Trade Justice in Hong Kong. Her long-range goal is a foreign service assignment in the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe or China.

All scholarship nominees submit a policy proposal addressed to a public official. Tran addressed her policy proposal to U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She pointed out that the majority of farm subsidies go to the largest agribusinesses and asked that Congress “limit the amount of farm payments any one recipient is allowed to receive and close loopholes in the system.”

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 attended Derby public schools and is a 2003 graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

Congress established the Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975, and the first scholarships were awarded in 1977. In 1981, David Adkins, executive vice chancellor for external affairs at KU Medical Center and a former state legislator, became the first KU student to win a Truman scholarship.

The 2006 Truman scholars gather May 14 for a weeklong leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., on May 21. For a listing of the 2006 scholars and more information on the foundation, see


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