Junior Christina Pao selected as a Truman Scholar

Christina Pao
Christina Pao

Yale junior Christina Pao has been named one of 62 Truman Scholars for 2019. The winners were announced by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation’s living memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The foundation has a mission to select and support the next generation of public service leaders. The award has become one of the most prestigious national scholarships in the United States. Recipients of the scholarship receive $30,000 toward graduate school and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming to help prepare them for careers in public service leadership.

Annually, candidates for the Truman Scholarship go through a rigorous, multi-stage selection process. In 2019, there were 840 candidates for the award, nominated by 346 college and universities — a record number of both applications and institutions. The finalists for the award were interviewed in March and early April at one of 16 regional selection panels. The 62 winners — chosen on the basis of their academic success and leadership accomplishments as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders — will receive their awards in a ceremony in the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum on May 26.

Pao, of Branford College, is pursuing a B.A. in classics (ancient Greek and Latin) and a joint B.A./M.A. in political science, focusing both on the socio-historical development of “citizenship” and the politics of migration. Having now lived in four states across the United States, she is always eager to engage in the new communities she calls home — whether it be through campaigning for grass-roots politicians, teaching new-arrival refugee children, working as a subsidized housing caseworker for migrants, or producing “know-your-rights” literature for sex workers. Pao attempts to ground her work in empirical evidence and academic literature, and she has published a piece on comparative refugee integration with Social Science Works in Berlin. She hopes to one day develop more sustainable frameworks for worldwide refugee integration.

Pao will pursue a Ph.D. in demography in order to advocate for the internally and externally displaced.

There have been 3,260 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977. Prominent Truman Scholars include Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.

Students interested in the Truman Scholarship should consult with Lindsay Lawton (Lindsay.lawton@yale.edu), Yale’s Truman Scholarship representative. The annual process for juniors opens every September with deadlines in mid-November, and is organized by the Office of Fellowships and Funding in the Center for International and Professional Experience.

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