Wahls named 2013 Truman Scholar

Wahls named 2013 Truman Scholar

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Six UI students have received the prestigious awards over the last six years

University of Iowa student Zach Wahls has been named a 2013 Truman Scholar—the university's sixth in as many years.

Portrait of Zach Wahls
Zach Wahls

Wahls, a UI Honors Program student and junior from Iowa City, Iowa, is among only 62 students from 54 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the award. The Truman Scholarship recognizes college juniors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership potential and a strong commitment to public service.

Iowa's recent record of Truman Scholarship recipients is rare among colleges and university's, and has earned the university recognition by the Truman Scholarship Foundation.

This year’s Truman Scholars were selected from a national pool of 629 candidates nominated by 293 colleges and universities on the basis of academic achievement, record of leadership, and likelihood of engaging with local, state, and national communities as change agents.

Recent UI Truman Scholarship recipients:

Zach Wahls (2013)

Conner Spinks (2012)

Veena Patel (2011)

Chris Page (2010)

Rachael Nathanson (2009)

Meredith DeBoom (2008)

Each Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Guided by his longtime interest in political advocacy and his strong entrepreneurial spirit, Wahls designed an interdisciplinary degree program that combines course work in the UI colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Engineering under the umbrella of Sustainability Studies. The program supports his developing understanding of the practice and politics of environmental engineering.

His knowledge and skill were also strengthened by his connection to the student-driven initiative Iowa City Summer of Solutions, and by work with Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa City’s Youth Advisory Commission.

Wahls landed in the spotlight when his testimony before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee attracted international attention on YouTube. It went on to become the site's top political video in 2011, and has since been viewed more than 17 million times.

Wahls subsequently contributed to the national conversation around LGBTQ rights as the founder of Scouts for Equality, an organization working to end the Boy Scouts of America ban on gay youth and parents.

He worked closely with Kelly Thornburg, UI Honors Program fellowships director, and the UI Truman scholar community—as well as university faculty, community leaders, and organizational mentor—to develop his Truman Scholarship application and prepare for the finalist interview.

In June of 2009, the UI was named a Truman Foundation Honor Institution in recognition of its “active encouragement of outstanding young people to pursue careers in public service.” The award goes to institutions that enjoy sustained success in helping their students win Truman Scholarships and in promoting the principles of public service demonstrated by the foundation’s namesake.

Find the full listing of 2013 Truman scholars and more information of the Truman Scholarship Foundation website.

Contacts

Kelly Thornburg, Honors Program, 319-335-1874
Lin Larson, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0042

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