Two Boise State University students have been awarded the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship this spring — setting a record both for Boise State and the state of Idaho for the most Truman Scholars in a single year.
Created by Congress in 1975, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is a living memorial designed to support future generations who answer the call to public service leadership. Each year, the foundation reviews more than 700 applications and awards 55-65 scholarships.
Students Jackson Blackwell, majoring in economics and political science, and David Shin, majoring in economics and physics, were chosen for the nationally competitive scholarship for their outstanding leadership potential, academic excellence and commitment to careers in public service.
“These highly competitive, international awards recognize the tremendous work ethic, talent and strong character of these two wonderful individuals. I am so proud of Jackson and David. The awards also honor the dedication of our faculty and staff, who have mentored our students and helped them reach their full potential,” said Dr. Marlene Tromp, Boise State president. “There is no higher calling than public service, and I can’t wait to see all of the ways in which Jackson and David will positively impact our world.”
The students each will receive $30,000 for graduate study.
“I am thrilled for Jackson and David,” said Andrew Finstuen, dean of the Honors College. “Their recognition as Truman Scholars testifies to their immense talent, hard work and vision for positive change in the world.”
A lifelong Alaskan, Blackwell is passionate about international energy and Arctic environmental policy. He plans to return to Alaska after completing a juris doctor and graduate degree in public policy.
“I’m grateful and honored to be named a 2020 Truman Scholar, and it’s humbling to be joining the community of Truman Scholars who are all dedicated to public service and making a difference in our country and world,” he said. “I couldn’t have done this without the help and advice of the Boise State community.”
Shin, from Boise, Idaho, will pursue a graduate degree in economics and a juris doctor with the goal of becoming a criminal justice attorney. He hopes to work in prison reform, specifically to reduce recidivism rates and ensure ex-offenders have the chance to join the workforce and make meaningful contributions to society.
“Being named a Truman Scholar is less a reflection of my personal abilities but rather the incredible opportunities that Boise State and the fellowship advising office in particular offers,” Shin said.
Those opportunities include scholarship preparedness and application help offered by the Honors College fellowship advising office, which opened in 2014. Since then, advisors Kate Huebschmann and Emily Jones have stewarded 110 students from a variety of majors through national fellowship applications, with more than a fourth of them receiving scholarships.
Blackwell and Shin join an elite list of 3,322 Truman Scholars since the scholarship was founded. Prominent Truman Scholars include Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (1987), U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (1983), former National Security Advisor Susan Rice (1984) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (1981). Truman Scholars lead at all levels of government, and throughout local and global nonprofit sectors.