Makayla Haussler ’19 is among 59 students across the country who received the prestigious Truman Scholarship, a grant given to college juniors who show leadership promise in government and public service, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation announced Thursday.
The Truman Scholarship provides students with $30,000 to pursue graduate studies abroad or in the United States. Recipients are required to work in public service for at least three out of their first seven years after receiving their graduate degree.
This year, the recipients were selected from a pool of 756 candidates nominated by 312 colleges and universities across the country. Students vying for their university’s nomination have to go through a monthslong process of securing recommendation letters attesting to their prospects of success in graduate school, commitment to a career in public service and leadership abilities. Candidates are also required to submit a policy proposal on a topic of their choice.
This year, Haussler is the only Yale student selected to receive the award.
A political science major, Haussler focuses her studies on American politics, urban studies and the politics of inequality. During her time at the University, she has coordinated legislative advocacy and communications strategy for the Yale College Democrats, served as campaign manager for Ward 1 Alder candidate Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19, taught international relations to New Haven high school students with the Yale International Relations Association’s Hemispheres program and worked on reproductive justice issues with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.
Last summer, Haussler also worked in her home state of Nebraska, where she organized community members to rally behind the Affordable Care Act and conducted independent research on the relationship between immigrant communities and labor unions in the state’s rural meatpacking communities.
Haussler said she applied for the scholarship because she has wanted to pursue a career in public service since high school, particularly in the realm of reproductive justice. She added that the Truman Scholarship represents an excellent way to network with and receive mentorship from people with similar interests and career goals and that the monetary grant is invaluable for a person interested in doing legal work for a nonprofit.
“It’s incredibly exciting [to receive the scholarship]!” Haussler said. “It’s also just a huge relief to know that this very complicated and drawn-out process that I began in October 2017 with the Yale application cycle has finally come to a close and has played out the way that I wanted it to. After having worked on one application for so long, it’s very rewarding to have my hard work and accomplishments acknowledged in this way.”
Haussler hopes to pursue a Juris Doctor degree and a master’s degree in public policy or another academic policy–oriented degree. She said she believes these two degrees will leave her “well-equipped for a lifetime of working in legal and public policy advocacy, identifying ways in which current laws regarding reproductive justice and health care justice more specifically, could be improved and legal precedents regarding these topics strengthened.”
The Truman Scholarship was created in 1975 as the official federal memorial to President Truman.
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