Carrie Gates | April 17, 2017
University of Notre Dame junior Rebecca Blais, a political science major from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, has been named a 2017 Truman Scholar.
Blais is one of just 62 college juniors to be selected for the prestigious scholarship this year, from a pool of 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities nationwide. The winners were chosen based on their leadership potential, intellectual ability and commitment to public service.
Established in 1975 as a living memorial to President Harry S. Truman, the award includes $30,000 in graduate study funds, priority admission and supplemental financial aid at select institutions, as well as leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government.
“I am incredibly honored to receive this scholarship,” Blais said. “The thought of working with the support of the Truman Foundation in a career of public service is both encouraging and exciting. I am sincerely looking forward to having the chance to get to know such inspired, passionate people who are dedicated to helping others.”
Seven students in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been named Truman Scholars since 2010, including two winners in 2016 — Arabic and peace studies major Caleb “C.J.” Pine and philosophy major Christa Grace Watkins. Other previous winners include Alex Coccia, class of 2014, an Africana studies and peace studies major; Elizabeth Davis, class of ’12, a Program of Liberal Studies major; Puja Parikh, class of ’11, a political science and psychology major; and Elizabeth (Simpson) Hlabse, class of ’11, a theology and peace studies major. Watkins and Coccia have also gone on to win Rhodes Scholarships.
“Notre Dame’s continuing success with the Truman Scholarship is a result of our consistently outstanding applicant pool of juniors who are not waiting until after graduation to begin their work as change agents,” said Jeffrey Thibert, associate director of the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE). “Becca exemplifies this. She has already left a lasting mark on the University, and the financial support and mentoring offered through the Truman Scholarship will help her expand her capability for impact to the national or even international stage.”