Meet UConn’s 2017 Truman Scholarship Nominees

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is awarded for graduate study towards careers in public service to approximately 55 students nationally based on their academic achievement, leadership, and public service records. Students must apply in their junior year.  Each year, universities may nominate up to four juniors for this competition.  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 submitted their applications to the national competition in February.  Congratulations to these outstanding students on their nominations!

Elizabeth Charash (’18 CLAS) is a history major at UConn. She is an avid reader, consumer of political satire and tea connoisseur. She is from Newtown, CT, where she was involved with gun violence prevention advocacy following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary her junior year in high school. She has studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa where she worked with community members in an area with high levels of gun violence. Her time in Cape Town in combination with her high school activism have shaped the research she is currently conducting on the differences in urban and suburban gun violence prevention policy and activism. Elizabeth has interned in the offices of Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senator Chris Murphy. She is also founder and president of UConn Against Gun Violence, where she seeks to inform her community about the complexities of gun violence.  Winner of the 2016 Newman Civic Fellowship, Elizabeth is also the recipient of an IDEA grant to continue her ongoing research on “Faces of the Gun Violence Prevention Movement in Connecticut” with Sociology Professor Mary Bernstein.  Upon graduation, she plans to continue to address the inequities presented by gun violence with a JD and masters or Ph.D continuing her current research.

Rebecca Kaufman (CLAS ’18), from Mansfield, CT, is an honors student double majoring in political science and human rights who aspires one day to lead legal efforts on behalf of the victims of environmental injustice.  An avid runner, Rebecca has interned for U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, worked with local leaders in rural Guatemala through the Social Entrepreneurship Corps, and studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa where she interned at the Economic Justice Network. As a spring 2016 IDEA Grant recipient, Rebecca used her funding to analyze the policy outcomes and increased female empowerment promulgated by women in local government in the Asia-Pacific region. In spring 2017, she was awarded the Augusta H. Gerberich Scholarship, which is given annually to a junior or senior majoring in political science whose special field of interest is international relations.  She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received an Alan R. Bennett Research Assistantship in fall 2014.  In the spring of 2016, Rebecca and three other students co-founded the Student Coalition for Social Justice, which conducts sustained, intersectional social justice campaigns in order to incite positive social change on the UConn campus and beyond.