Two COBE economics students were selected as finalists of the Truman Scholarship, Jackson Blackwell and David Shin.
Jackson Blackwell is from Soldotna, Alaska, and a junior pursuing majors in economics and political science through the Honors College at Boise State University. As a lifelong Alaskan, Jackson is passionate about the state and its people, having served in state and local public service roles. He has been active in issues relating to energy and environmental policy, most recently completing a semester working for the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee where he focused on renewable energy and Arctic policy issues. Jackson has been active in student government and served as the government relations officer for the Associated Students of Boise State, representing more than 25,000 students. Additionally, Jackson serves as the strategic development director for an Alaska-based nonprofit, called the Arctic Encounter Symposium. In this role, he has organized events and convenings in the United States, Iceland and the United Kingdom. Following graduation, he hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and a juris doctor, focusing on energy and environmental law, with the intent to pursue work in Alaska and Washington, D.C.
David Shin from Boise, Idaho, studies economics and physics with a focus on public policy and criminal justice. He is passionate about reforming the current prison system in an economically rational way so that sincere inmates that are released can join the workforce and not be at risk of prison re-entry. He launched a soon-to-be non-profit organization that recruits qualified volunteers from local colleges and medical schools to teach hirable skills as well as financial and health literacy in correctional facilities. David is also a resource for the recently released population, pointing them towards job opportunities and legal assistance. He has also been a part of the Sound Money Project, a research program typically intended for graduate students at the think tank AIER. This involves discussing the domestic effects of monetary and fiscal policies working with scholars such as a current Council of Economic Advisors member. He intends to pursue his goal of co-writing legislative reforms and reducing recidivism rates by pursuing a juris doctor and a graduate degree in economics.
Each year hundreds of college juniors compete for roughly 60 awards for the Truman Scholarship. For the 2020 awards, the Foundation received 773 applications from 316 colleges and universities. Based on their records of leadership, public service and academic achievement 190 candidates from 136 colleges and universities were selected as finalists. These students will be interviewed by the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels between March 1 and April 6. The 2020 Class of Truman Scholars will be announced on April 15.
The rigorous selection process requires that good candidates have a strong record of public service, as well as a policy proposal that addresses a particular issue in society. Firmly rooted in President Truman’s belief that education promotes the general welfare of our country, the Truman Scholarship remains committed to supporting and encouraging the future of public service leadership in the United States. Many of those chosen as scholars go on to serve in public office, as prosecutors and public defenders, as leaders of non-profit organizations, and as educators.