Willamette student awarded national Truman Scholarship for grad school

by University Communications,

Ten minutes remained in Mariah Grubb’s anthropology class, when she heard a knock on the door.

That’s when President Steve Thorsett walked in with several other administrators, armed with balloons, chocolates and an announcement — Grubb had been named a Truman Scholar.

“I was in utter shock,” Grubb '14 says about receiving the award. “I couldn’t believe I was picked. It was mind blowing.”

Grubb was one of about 60 college juniors from across the country to receive the award, which provides up to $30,000 for graduate school. The honor is bestowed to students who plan to pursue careers in government, policy, public health and related fields.

Along with the aid, Truman Scholars participate in leadership development programs and are granted opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.

A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Grubb attended Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland and taught English for three months in a village in Nepal. She has six years of experience as a whitewater rafting guide for ROW Adventures, and she is certified as a wilderness first responder.

Grubb’s community and political service activities include volunteering with the Owyhee Initiative, the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, the Willamette Outdoor Program, and Mid-Valley Mentors, through which she provides mentoring services to a woman who left an Oregon state prison and returned to Marion County.

This summer, she will be working with the ThinkImpact Institute in Rwanda. As part of her work, she will engage in an independent research project funded by the Carson Undergraduate Research Program.

A junior transfer student with a 4.0 GPA, Grubb says enrolling at Willamette was the best decision she could have made for herself.

“The one thing I’ve always been sure about is wanting to help other people and being involved in the greater community," she says. "Willamette’s motto, ‘Not unto ourselves alone are we born,’ speaks to that. It's the perfect fit for me.”

Excited by what the future holds, Grubb says she would not have been named a Truman Scholar without the support of her friends and professors.

Joyce Millen opened up my world to anthropology, which hadn’t even been on my radar screen before coming here,” says Grubb, an anthropology major.

“Her passion for what she teaches and her belief and encouragement in me is infectious. Had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have applied. I am forever in her debt for that.”

For more information on the Truman Scholars program and similar opportunities, contact the Office of Student Academic Grants and Awards.