Meet UConn’s 2016 Truman Scholarship Nominees

Each year, universities may nominate up to four juniors to compete in the prestigious Truman Scholarship competition for high-achieving students dedicated to careers in public service.  For more information about UConn’s nomination process and the scholarship itself, click HERE.  Nominees are selected for their strong academic records, demonstrated commitment to public service and exceptional leadership skills.   Also vital is the support of faculty mentors and professionals in their chosen fields.  This year’s nominees will have until February 2, 2016 to complete the national application.  Finalists will then be invited to a regional interview in March, with results to follow.  Good luck to all!

Adam Kuegler is a junior honors student from Watertown, CT majoring in political science and part of UConn’s Special Program in Law. Current Vice President of the UConn Undergraduate Student Government, Adam also serves as Chair of the External Affairs Committee, which under his leadership has advocated for sexual assault survivors and potential victims.  He has also served as USG’s representative on two Town-University Relations committees and is leading UConn’s efforts as Host and President University of the Universitas 21 Student Leaders Network. Last summer, he interned for Representative Bill Schuster (R-PA) in Washington D.C.  A member of the UConn College Republicans, Adam is an active volunteer for Marco Rubio’s campaign in New Hampshire leading up to that state’s primary.  He has extensive campaign experience on the state, local, and national level, including serving as Co-social Media Director for the Connecticut Grassroots Campaign for Newt Gingrich in 2012.  Adam is particularly interested in the political process and the voter ID debate.  As a freshman he was awarded a Holster First Year Experience grant for a project titled, “Voter Identification Laws: It’s all in the Implementation.” Part of the 2015 Leadership Legacy cohort, Adam is also an Eagle Scout who remains an active member of Troop 140.  He plans to attend law school in the future and is committed to serving the public through good governance.

Marissa Piccolo is a junior honors student from Trumbull, CT majoring in political science and economics with a minor in women’s studies.  Marissa’s interests include narrowing the wage gap and broadening the representation of women in politics.  She was selected nationally to participate in the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program where she received mentorship from professionals at EMILY’s list, among others.  She has since launched Local Women Lead, an initiative to encourage women in politics through mentoring. Active locally on the political scene, Marissa is President of UConn College Democrats and co-founder of UConn for Hillary.  She has served as the Northeast Representative for College Democrats of America National Policy Council.  In addition, she has been a research assistant at the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and a recipient of a SHARE (Social Science, Humanities, and Arts Research Experience) grant with Dr. Prakash Kashwan in the Department of Political Science.  Work from a project funded by a Holster First Year Experience grant, “Redefining the Role of Mental Health Services in Public High Schools,” received the 2014 Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Award for Social Sciences.  A Babbidge Scholar and recipient of the Wilma and Lucretia Dewey Tanner Scholarship, the Irving Smirnoff Award in Political Science, and a Global Citizenship Scholarship, Marissa was a participant this fall in the UConn in London program.

Erin Puglia is a junior honors student from Trumbull, CT majoring in political science & human rights and part of UConn’s Special Program in Law. In 2015, she was selected nationally for a UK Fulbright Summer Institute Award at Queen’s University in Belfast, which focused on conflict resolution.  A passionate supporter of LGBTQ rights, Erin was a participant in Community Outreach’s New York City Alternative Break focused on gender and sexual identity.  Afterwards, she became the political liaison and organizer of “UConn Speak Out,” an event confronting hate on campus, which drew state local representatives and was awarded Outstanding Student Activist Group Project by the UConn Rainbow Center.  As a Bennett Research Assistant in the Department of Political Science and a recipient of a Roper Award for Research Experience (RARE) grant, she is studying American politics and plans to pursue a master’s in public administration in order to effect progressive policy reform.  She has been a tutor and Assistant Program Director at Mansfield Middle School, a participant of “Elect Her” Women in Politics Training, and Office of Leadership Programs H.O.L.D.U.P. mentor, among many other activities. This year, Erin is the Trip Director for the Urban Poverty and Political Action Alternative Break trip to Washington D.C.  A recipient of a CLAS Undergraduate Scholars Fund Scholarship and an Academic Excellence Scholarship, Erin received in high school the CT Association of Boards of Education Student Leadership Award, among many other impressive accolades.