Agnes Scott students Leah Trotman was one of 62 students around the country who was awarded the nationally recognized Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.
Trotman is the college’s first Truman Scholarship recipient since 2009 and the fifth since the program’s inception in 1975. She was one of 62 scholars named from the 773 applicants representing 316 colleges and universities. Students were selected based on their leadership, public service, academic achievement, interviews with regional review panels and essays.
Trotman, an international relations and public health double major, wrote her essay on “Natural Disaster Response in the Virgin Islands.” While interning at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their Center for Preparedness and Response, Trotman learned about the detrimental public health effects of exclusive emergency preparedness and response planning. She has written several essays and policy statements on emergency preparedness and response in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“Applying for the Truman Scholarship was no easy task,” Trotman said. “There were many long nights, meetings and plenty of interview preparation. At times, I wasn’t sure if I could muster up the mental strength to write one more sentence. But, as I sent out the last of the application materials, I knew I had made the right choice. The process helped to solidify and clarify my personal and professional short- and long-term goals. I am grateful for the experience.”
Selection panels include distinguished civic leaders, elected officials, university presidents, federal judges, and past Truman Scholarship winners. Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.
Trotman was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Growing up on a small island, I have learned to value community,” she said. “Whenever I enter a space, I walk in with the intention to build community. Being selected as a 2020 Truman Scholar means expanding my community and meeting like-minded future public servants, people dedicated to a life in public service.”
Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, demonstrate academic excellence and be committed to careers in public service.
Upon graduation in 2021, Trotman hopes to pursue a Master of Public Health in humanitarian health in disaster relief and gain the skills needed to develop comprehensive disaster relief community health interventions and policies in the Caribbean and Latin America. She aspires to a career as an executive within an international health agency in the area of disaster relief.
Her ultimate goal is to become governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Truman Scholarship will provide Trotman with vital support and mentoring opportunities to enable her to achieve her aspirations.
“I am thrilled that Leah has been named a 2020 Truman Scholar,” Agnes Scott President Leocadia I. Zak said. “Her essay and career aspirations could not be more relevant today. As a peer mentor, tutor, student leader and local clinic coordinator, Leah is committed to making her community and the world better. I am so proud of her. And, look forward to congratulating her on her election to public office one day!”
As of this announcement, the 2020 Truman Scholars are scheduled to assemble in May for a leadership development program. They are also scheduled to receive their awards at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri, in May.