University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast student Stephanie McCracken was named a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship.
McCracken, a junior geography major, began her application for the scholarship last semester before turning it in on Feb. 4. On Feb. 21, McCracken received a text message from her academic advisor Robyn Curtis informing her that she had been selected as a finalist.
McCracken said she was extremely excited to be one of the students that was picked to be considered for the highly competitive financial award. “I am very honored to be named a Truman finalist, and to represent USM in this competition,” McCracken said.
Each university that is involved can nominate a maximum of four students to represent their school. In 2014, the foundation received approximately 655 applications from college juniors across the nation, and out of those schools only 204 were selected as finalists.
According to Curtis, the officer of national scholarships and fellowships, the Truman Foundation has a national screening committee who reads applications from all students who chose to apply. Afterward, they select some of those students to move forward to the next interview.
Along with a strong academic record, each competitor must also have a substantial background in community service, as well as proven leadership skills. Students must desire to have a career in helping others.
McCracken was nominated as a potential Truman candidate by assistant professor of geography in the College of Science and Technology David Holt in fall 2013. She then kept in contact with Curtis and they discussed details such as her life goals and her background. McCracken, who is also an Air Force veteran and a former paramedic, was surprised to learn that she had been nominated for a scholarship so prestigious.
In order to prepare for the next stage in this competition, a final interview on March 24, Curtis, along with former Truman scholars Brandon Hersey and Lance Brown, are conducting mock interviews for McCracken. McCracken is very thankful for all of the support she has received from others.