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Truman Scholars are finalists for additional prestigious fellowships

Honors College, photo Patrick Sweeney

Truman Scholars Halima Hamud and Jackson Blackwell are finalists for two additional prestigious fellowships in policy and foreign diplomacy. Hamud, a political science major graduating next spring, is a Pickering Fellowship finalist; Blackwell, who earned degrees in both economics and political science in May, is up for the Marshall Scholarship. Both scholarships are extremely competitive with approximately 3.5 percent odds of acceptance.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, the Pickering Fellowship attracts and prepares outstanding young people for careers in foreign service. The fellowship finances two-year graduate programs, provides two summer internships, offers mentoring from a foreign service officer, and provides other professional development activities. Last year, 45 Pickering Fellows were selected from 1,301 applicants.

Halima Hamud will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science degree in May 2022 and is Boise State’s fifth Truman scholar. Photo by Priscilla Grover.

“It was an ordinary Thursday for me but when I received that ‘congratulations’ email I was so happy and eager for my future,” Hamud recalled when learning she was a finalist. “I have been involved in my community as an advocate and bridge builder. And now as a finalist, it demonstrates that I am being encouraged to pursue my higher academic in public service.”

If awarded the Pickering Fellowship, Hamud hopes to get her master’s in policy and international studies “to hone in on her knowledge on diplomacy, security, ethics, and politics to better serve communities abroad.” Hamud also is a finalist for the Rangel Scholarship, where its fellows are awarded two years of graduate funding and domestic internships on Capitol Hill.

Jackson Blackwell (B.S., economics, political science, ’21) works with organizations in Alaska to develop climate change policies.

Blackwell, who currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska, is pursuing a Marshall Scholarship to enroll in master’s programs at the University of Cambridge and University College London. He hopes to study policy pertaining to the Arctic region while exploring the impact of climate change on domestic and international security.

“I hope to be involved and better the communities I’m part of while working for the public interest,”  Blackwell said. “Climate change is a particularly pressing issue to my home state of Alaska and the Arctic region and I look forward to working across partisan and international boundaries to positively impact the regions and affect change.”

The Marshall Scholarship finances up to 50 scholars each year to undertake graduate study at any United Kingdom institution in any field of study. Scholars are chosen based on their outstanding academic performance, leadership experience, and ambassadorial potential. Just 46 scholars were selected from 1,190 applicants last year.

“The Honors College and their team, specifically my advisor Kate Huebschmann, have been nothing short of incredible, and their advice, encouragement, and help over the past several years are the reason I am where I am today,” Blackwell said. “I will forever be grateful for their time and investment into my future and look forward to paying it back.”

“I am so proud of Halima and Jackson and am delighted that they have been chosen as finalists for these awards. It is a recognition of their hard work and their incredible promise,” said Huebschmann, Honors College fellowships advisor. “Having worked with both of them since their Truman Scholarship applications, I know that neither have a self-focused understanding of ‘success.’ They do what they do out of a deep desire to better serve their communities.”