Meet UConn’s 2020 Truman Scholarship Nominees

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The Truman Scholarship is awarded to college juniors with exceptional leadership potential and commitment to a career in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education, or elsewhere in public service.  Scholars are awarded up to $30,000 to pursue graduate studies, receive pre-professional/graduate advising from the Foundation and are invited to participate in internships and other programs.  Schools may nominate up to four students each year for the Truman Scholarship.  The campus deadline nomination falls on or around the first of November each year, but interested students are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Vin Moscardelli, Director of ONSF, as early as spring of their sophomore years.


Harry Zehner

Harry Zehner (CLAS ’21) is a junior political science major who was raised in New Haven, CT. He was a lead organizer of UConn Fridays For Future, an activist group which, through a mass strike and sit-ins, forced the university to stop the construction of a planned new natural gas plant. He also serves on the President’s Working Group on Climate Change, as an intern at the UConn Office of Sustainability and as the Opinion Editor for the student-run daily newspaper, The Daily Campus. Harry works on numerous policy ventures outside of school, ranging from being a lead policy advisor on a mayoral campaign to working for two sustainability-focused NGOs. As a University Scholar, Harry is currently researching, designing and piloting an internal carbon proxy price for the University of Connecticut in order to internalize the externality of carbon emissions in large capital projects. After UConn, Harry intends to pursue a Master’s in urban planning with the goal of continuing his local advocacy efforts as a city planner committed to democratizing power, fighting against gentrification and securing transit equity, affordable housing, environmental justice and good quality of life for all.


Michael ZhuMichael Zhu (CLAS’ 21), a junior from Woodbridge, CT, is an aspiring physician pursuing a double major in molecular & cell biology and economics. Michael is a 2018 Holster Scholar, 2018-2019 IDEA Grant Recipient, and 2020 Leadership Legacy Fellow. Michael is currently interning with the Center for Medicare Advocacy where he is studying the effects that recent CMS payment structure changes will have on home health care access. Michael has also worked as a legislative intern with the Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington. At HMCW, Michael was able to research legislation, write memos, and advocate on behalf of patient advocacy groups and medical nonprofits. On campus, Michael is a resident assistant, the vice-chair of the USG Academic Affairs Committee, and the founder of the UConn Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Campaign where he was awarded 2nd place in the Tiny Earth Awareness Campaign PSA competition. Michael was also a research assistant in the Broderick Lab, where he studied the microbiome’s effect on Alzheimer’s disease – work he presented at the Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Dallas, TX in 2019. Michael volunteers with the Elder Horizons program at Yale-New Haven Hospital and is captain of the UConn Club Water Polo team. In the future, Michael hopes to couple his skills as a physician and his interest in public health to design and inform health policy to ensure access to quality care for all Americans.



To learn more about these and other nationally-competitive scholarship and fellowship opportunities, visit the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships and click “Talk to an Advisor.”


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