Two Aggie Honors Students Selected as Truman Finalists

Two Texas A&M University students—Omar El-Halwagi and Lauren Prew—have been selected as finalists 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 annually selected from a national pool of nearly 1,000 applicants, each of whom was nominated by their college or university. The most recent Texas A&M student to be selected as a Truman Scholar was Kellie (Sims) Butler, in 1994

Omar El-Halwagi

Omar El-Halwagi will interview on March 11 at Texas Wesleyan University Law School in Fort Worth, Texas. A graduate of A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, El-Halwagi is a Management and Business Honors major with a minor in Communications. He is the co-founder and 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, El-Halwagi has also interned with the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Public Policy Internship Program. 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.

Lauren Prew

Lauren Prew will interview on March 17 at Seattle City Hall.  A graduate of Timberline High School in Boise, Idaho, 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 this past summer was one of two students selected from a nationwide pool to intern with the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, MD, through the Women’s Health Initiative for the Foundation of NIH Research.  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.

In addition to the $30,000 scholarship award, Truman Scholars also engage in a number of programs, including the Truman Scholarship Leadership Week, held at the Truman Library in Jewell, Missouri; the Truman Scholar Summer Institute, which provides internships and seminars in Washington DC; and the Truman-Albright Fellows Program, which provides Truman Scholars the opportunity to engage in a year-long fellowship with a number of governmental agencies and public service organizations.

Scholars will be announced on March 28, 2011. In the last ten years, nine Aggies have progressed to finalist, the most recent being International Studies major Karthik Venkatraj ’10.

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.”  Notable Truman Scholars include Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, broadcaster and political advisor George Stephanopoulos, US Ambassador to the UN Susan E. Rice, and Ford Foundation President Luis Ubiñas.

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

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