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Kate D’AmbrosioKate D’Ambrosio

D'Ambrosio Wins Truman Scholarship

Kate D'Ambrosio, a junior majoring in politics and history from Missoula, Mont., has been named a 2005 Truman Scholar.

The Truman Foundation awards grants of up to $30,000 to college juniors to help them pursue graduate or professional degrees to prepare for careers in public service. D'Ambrosio is one of only 75 national Truman Scholars selected from of 237 candidates from 152 institutions.

Being considered for a prestigious Truman Award takes a lot of work. Winning one takes even more. "Completing the application for the Truman Award was like taking another class," says D'Ambrosio. "During my sophomore year, Willamette had prospective applicants complete the Truman application and participate in a mock interview with a panel of Willamette University professors and students. The University then selected four students to apply for the national scholarship competition. Completing the application was really difficult and I wrote 15 different drafts of it. I then participated in three more mock interviews with Willamette professors, students and members of the community at large."

Students selected for final interviews compete in regional interviews around the country. D'Ambrosio flew to Denver, Colo., to meet with the Truman selection committee.

"After that, you just sit and wait," D'Ambrosio said.

Truman Scholars are chosen on the basis of their community service and demonstrated leadership, academic record and commitment to a career in public service. "Truman Scholars are future change agents," explains Monique Bourque, director of academic grants and awards at Willamette University. Her office assists students in preparing for the competitive selection process. "They are students who have the passion, intellect and leadership potential to change the way public entities&nbap;- from government to nonprofits, schools and advocacy groups&nbap;- serve the public good. In the last six years, eight Willamette students have been awarded Truman Scholarships. It's quite an honor."

D'Ambrosio has been active on campus as a staff writer for The Collegian, as a member of the varsity track and cross country team and the Willamette Events Board. She's also been a volunteer at Parrish Middle School and at the American Red Cross. She has worked as an intern for the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C., for the Oregon Department of Forestry, and as a member of a fire crew for the U.S. Forest Service in her native Montana.

In addition to the Truman Award, D'Ambrosio has also been awarded a 2005 Honorable Mention for the Udall Scholarship. The Udall Foundation awards scholarships of up to $5000 to college sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated outstanding potential and a commitment to pursuing careers related to the environment and to Native American and Alaska Native college sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated outstanding potential and a commitment to careers related to tribal public policy or health care. This year, the Foundation awarded 80 scholarships and 50 Honorable Mentions.

D'Ambrosio hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a joint degree in law and natural resources management. "I'd like to work for the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution and eventually for the U.S. Forest Service."