Secretary Madeleine K. Albright, President of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, announced the University of Utah’s Ashley Edgette as one of 54 students selected as a 2012 Truman Scholar. Edgette was chosen from an original pool of 587 applicants from 272 colleges and universities across the United States.
The University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics is the only institution in the nation to produce a scholar in each of the last six consecutive years.
“The University community is proud of Ashley Edgette’s exceptional achievements, and we congratulate her for being recognized by the Truman Foundation,” says University of Utah President David W. Pershing. “It is a great honor, and we are thrilled to have her represent the U on the national stage.”
Ashley Edgette exhibits outstanding academic abilities by maintaining a 3.86 GPA while pursuing dual Honors Degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies as well as a minor in French. She has received several academic achievement awards, including the Utah Compact Civically Engaged Student Award, and is an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Sustainability Scholar, a Lowell Bennion Service Learning Scholar, and an Honors College Social Justice Scholar. Ashley has served two internships through the Hinckley Institute of Politics, working first as an intern with the Mestizo Arts and Activism Collective in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this capacity, Ashley mentored local high school students as they engaged in the legislative process by tracking bills, lobbying, researching, and reporting at the Utah State Legislature. Ashley also served as a Government Relations Intern with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in Washington, D.C. During this internship, Ashley helped organize a national, statewide, and local letter campaign to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and food stamps from becoming block granted, led a research investigation on the educational and nutritional benefits of vegetable gardens at elementary schools, and lobbied ranking Senate staff members to advocate for vulnerable American families.
After graduating in May 2013, Ashley plans to study the intersection of community development, sustainable food systems, and social justice through city and metropolitan planning. Her previous work also includes organizing two community-school gardens at Title I elementary schools in Salt Lake City and serving as an editor of the Hinckley Journal of Politics. In her spare time, she is a skier, writer, reader, gardener, community organizer, baker, artist, and outdoor enthusiast. Ashley’s Truman Policy Proposal addresses the issue of community food security by increasing funding for USDA Community Food Projects and integrating them into Title I elementary schools.
Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute, who received the Truman Scholarship while he was a University of Utah student in 1990 said: “Ashley truly is a well-deserving Truman Scholar who will represent the Hinckley Institute and the University of Utah with distinction. She has built a strong legacy of public service, is committed to serving others, and focused on solving problems. Now with the distinction and opportunities attributed to Truman Scholars, she will be that much more effective in advocating for and serving vulnerable American families.”
Commenting on her selection, Ashley stated, “I’m honored by my community for their endless support and love. I am pleased to see the Truman Foundation validating social justice work, activism, and community organizing by recognizing the work I’ve done with the Mestizo Arts and Activism Collective, the Bennion Center Social Justice Gardens, the Honors College Social Justice Scholars, and the Hinckley Institute of Politics. I want to recognize Dr. Matt Bradley for inspiring me, and many others, to pursue work that creates change in the world. Matt, we love you and miss you with all our hearts.”
The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the thirty-third president, Harry S. Truman. The Foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The prestigious scholarship provides each recipient $30,000 for graduate study as well as priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special fellowship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.
Each year, thousands of students across the nation apply for the Truman Scholarship at their respective universities. Each university is allowed to nominate up to three students from their university. This year, the Truman Foundation received 587 applications from 272 colleges and universities. These applications were reviewed from February 16-18, 2012, by the Truman Finalist Selection Committee. The Committee selected 191 candidates from 123 colleges and universities as Finalists.
Selection panels interview finalists from a three to four state region and generally elect one scholar from each state and one or two at-large scholars from the region. Each panel typically includes a university president, a federal judge, a distinguished public servant, and past Truman Scholarship winners. Edgette is one of 54 scholars selected from this year’s 191 finalists.
The Truman Scholars Leadership Week will take place from May 22-27, 2012, at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri.