Yale junior who works for the public good wins Truman Scholarship

Bessie Bauman
Bessie Bauman

Bessie Bauman, a junior who is committed to a future making sure all Americans, regardless of their background, can prosper economically, is one of 62 American students selected as 2020 Truman Scholars.

Recipients receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming to help prepare them for careers in public service leadership. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation’s living memorial to the nation’s 33rd president. The foundation has a mission to select and support the next generation of public service leaders. The Truman award has become one of the most prestigious national scholarships in the United States.

Bauman, of Ezra Stiles College, is currently pursuing a B.A. in economics with a focus on inequality. Originally from Olathe, Kansas, she said she is passionate about improving United States tax policy and mitigating wealth inequality. She has a specific interest in creating state-level social policies that improve families’ economic stability and mobility. Bauman serves as co-president and site coordinator of one of the largest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program sites in Connecticut, helping to return millions of dollars in refunds to low-income taxpayers each tax season. This year, she implemented voter registration at her local tax site in partnership with the Brookings Institution. Bauman previously worked as an intern at the Minneapolis-based nonprofit MicroGrants to help alleviate poverty through small grants to diverse people. Outside the classroom, Bauman also works on legal research for small businesses and mentors other students on campus. She said she loves sharing and practicing her first language, American Sign Language, with others. She plans to pursue a J.D. with a focus in tax law. 

Annually, candidates for the Truman Scholarship go through a rigorous, multi-stage selection process. In 2020, there were 773 candidates for the award nominated by 316 colleges and universities. The 190 finalists for the award were interviewed in March and early April at one of 16 regional selection panels.

Students interested in the Truman scholarship should consult lindsay.lawton@yale.edu. 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 & Professional Experience.

For more information, visit the Truman Foundation website.

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Media Contact

Bess Connolly: elizabeth.connolly@yale.edu, 203-432-1324