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Public Policy junior Nadine Jawad, vice president of Central Student Government, was named a Truman Scholarship, an award that celebrates a commitment to public service. She will be the 27th candidate at the University of Michigan to receive this prestigious award.
According to a press release, Jawad was one of 62 undergraduates to be awarded a scholarship this year, out of the 768 students who were nominated. Candidates must be nominated by their university in their junior year, and then recipients are chosen by a selection panel based on a series of personal essays, letters and interviews.
Jawad aims to use the scholarship to pursue a degree in medicine and a Master of Public Health, with an interest in women’s health and a potential focus on HPV, gynecologic cancers and diseases that arise in situations of intimate partner violence.
“Ultimately, I’d like to work somewhere in the government sector, the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or the World Health Organization — that way I can blend my interest in public policy with my interest in medicine and kind of do both,” she said.
Marjorie Horton, the assistant dean for undergraduate education, wrote in an email interview she met Jawad through Jawad’s participation in LSA student government, and was unsurprised by her success with the award.
“I see that intensity, drive and tireless work ethic in all that Nadine takes on,” Horton wrote. “She focuses on how to have a very real, tangible impact. With her leadership and organizational savvy and personal magnetism, she harnesses the talents and passions of many other students, builds connections in communities and with campus administrators, and achieves what she sets out to do and usually much more.”
Jawad cited her various involvements at the University as instrumental to applying to and receiving this scholarship, such as her three-year involvement in CSG, Books for a Benefit — a student organization she co-founded to promote children’s literacy in the metro Detroit area — and work in a research lab focused on HPV and oncology.
“What really helped me is the wide range of activities I’m involved in,” Jawad said. “I wouldn’t attribute it to one specific activity, I’d rather say that the overlapping activities really defined my experience and helped me with the application process.”
Henry Dyson, director of the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, said Jawad is the second student in two years at the University to win a Truman Scholarship. In an email interview, he wrote he hopes the University continues the trend of performing well with the Truman Scholarship by supporting candidates like Jawad.
"Of all the prestigious scholarships that I work with, I feel a particular connection to the Truman because it celebrates the same educational ideals that make Michigan such a great public university: academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, and a strong commitment to serve the common good,” he wrote. “Nadine truly represents each of these ideals. Every time I meet with her, I’m inspired to renew my own commitment to serving others — it just radiates from her."
Anthropology Prof. Holly Peters-Golden wrote in an email interview Jawad’s motivation was a large factor in her receiving this award.
“I can think of no other student who deserves this honor more than she does,” she wrote. “In our discussions, it was evident that Nadine was not merely speaking about her ideas; she was speaking about her actions.”
Jawad encouraged other students to apply for a Truman Scholarship, stating the application process alone was a beneficial opportunity for personal growth.
“Winning was honestly just icing on the cake,” she said. “The overall process was absolutely incredible. Just the ability to meet with people in your field and to sit and think through 14 essays that ask you personal questions about what you think about and why you care about the things that you care about. I think that critical thinking and the process of going through the application was so intensive. Regardless of whether I won or not, it was still a really enriching and life-changing experience for me.”