Four Outstanding Juniors Nominated for Truman Scholarship

Four outstanding Texas A&M University students have been selected as Institutional Nominees for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 for students who are pursuing careers in public service. Between 60 and 75 Truman Scholars are selected from a pool of national pool of nearly 1,000 applicants.

A graduate of Skyline Center High School in Dallas, Valecia Battle is a Management major with minors in Africana Studies and Philosophy. A University Scholar, Century Scholar, and Mays Business Fellow, she is the chair and director of speakers for the MSC Cater G. Woodson Black Awareness Committee and is a founder of the Matthew Gaines Initiative. Ms. Battle volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club and Helping One Student to Succeed, and she is the campus campaign coordinator for Teach For America. After graduation, she plans to participate in Teach For American and then pursue an M.S. in Education at Johns Hopkins University before continuing on to Harvard Law School. In the long term, she hopes to open a number of magnet schools in Baltimore and Washington DC.

Omar El-Halwagi, a graduate of A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, is a Management and Business Honors major with a minor in Communications. He is the president of the Texas A&M Speech and Debate Team and was the 2009 national champion in extemporaneous speaking. He has been the Administrative Coordinator the Freshman Business Initiative and has proposed and led his own special topics course for the Mays Business School. A participant in the 2009 China-US Relations Conference, Mr. El-Halwagi also interned with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, DC. After graduation, he will pursue a joint degree in law and social policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In the long term, he hopes to build a career as an employment discrimination lawyer and, later, a public official.

A graduate of Timberline High School in Boise, Idaho, Lauren Prew is an English, Creative Writing, major with a minor in Chemistry. A University Scholar and a National Merit Scholar, she is a member of the Aggie Democrats and an avid athlete, playing soccer and training for marathons and triathlons. Ms. Prew has volunteered with the Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the Physician Centre Hospital, and she recently interned with the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, MD. After graduation, she will pursue a degree in law at Arizona State’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and establish a career in public health and policy, possibly with the FDA or Department of Health and Human Services.

A graduate of Sharyland High School in Mission, Leslye Womack is an International Studies major, with minors in Spanish and Sociology. An Alexander Hamilton Scholar and a University Scholar and a member of the Academy for Future International Leaders, she has been the director of development for Student Leaders of Tomorrow and a mentor with MSC Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow. She recently interned with Twin City Mission and is a Global Ambassador Program intern. After graduating from Texas A&M, she will volunteer with the Peace Corps before pursuing a Master of International Relations degree at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Ms. Womack plans to work for the US Department of State, focusing on issues related to drug enforcement and gang violence along the US-Mexican border.

Established by Congress in 1975, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is the official federal memorial to the nation’s 33rd president. The foundation awards $30,000 scholarships to undergraduates who wish to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or public service. Truman Scholars are recognized as “change agents” and have the “passion, intellect, and leadership potential that in time should enable them to improve the ways that public entities…serve the public good.”

Finalists will be announced by February 25. Students selected as finalists will then be invited to interview with one of several regional committees comprised of Truman alumni and leaders from industry and the public sector. In the last ten years, nine Aggies have progressed to finalist, the most recent being International Studies major Karthik Venkatraj ’10.

For more information, please contact Kyle Mox, National Fellowships Coordinator, Honors & Undergraduate Research, at 845-1957 or


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