Maya Durvasula, Samantha Gupta and Mishi Jain are among 62 college students selected from 54 U.S. colleges and universities who have been selected as 2017 Truman Scholars. The three Indian-Americans were among those selected from among 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities. They were chosen by sixteen independent selection panels based on the finalists’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.
Durvasula, a Robertson Scholar at Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Maya combines academic interests in economic development and poverty alleviation with a wide array of experiences in research, service, and politics. During a gap year in New Mexico, she served as policy director for a statewide political campaign, worked as an analyst for the State Senate, and interned with a local think tank. Since then, service and research projects have taken her from a classroom in Sunflower, Miss., to a public health lab in Guangzhou, China. Durvasula is currently co-leading two behavioral economics experiments on HIV test uptake and coordinating the development of a working paper series on social policy. She serves as an editor of the Duke Political Review, sits on the board of the Duke Partnership for Service, and is active in the local crisis intervention center. An economics major, with a math minor and politics, philosophy, and economics certificate, Durvasula intends to pursue graduate work in economics.
Gupta, a native of Acton, Mass., is a junior at Harvard College studying economics. His experiences interning for the White House Council of Economic Advisers and researching for Prof. Matthew Desmond have fueled his desire to work on issues related to affordable housing. On campus, he is a captain of the Harvard College Running Club, a representative on student government, and the director of an after-school basketball program for local youth. After completing his undergraduate degree, Gupta plans to pursue a law degree.
- A Sugar Land, Texas, native, Jain is a political science and policy studies double major at Rice University. She spends her time at the Baker Institute for Public Policy as the President of the Student Forum and the founder of the American Association of University Women chapter at Rice. Her interests in public policy stem from her goal to promote comprehensive immigration reform that accounts for the needs of all minority groups. Jain has previously interned at the National Diversity Council, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. By pursuing a JD/MPP after graduation, she aspires to serve the needs of immigrants and fight the model minority myth.
The Truman Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Truman and the Presidential Memorial to Public Service. The foundation’s mission is premised on the belief that a better future relies on attracting to public service the commitment and sound judgment of bright, outstanding Americans.