On April 14, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation named two Yale College juniors — Alie Brussel Faria ’22 and Eli Sabin ’22 — among 62 juniors at various institutions across the country as this year’s Truman Scholarship winners.
Serving as a living memorial to former President Harry S. Truman, the prestigious Truman Scholarship seeks to recognize and support the next generation of public service leaders. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate and professional studies, as well as leadership training, special internships and employment opportunities with the federal government. Scholars are committed to a career in government or the nonprofit sector, and are required to work in public service for three of the seven years after completion of a graduate degree program.
Each year, accredited four-year universities may nominate up to four juniors for the Truman Scholarship, based on their records of leadership, public service and academic achievement. In 2021, a record 845 students were nominated by 328 institutions for the award. After being nominated, candidates undergo a rigorous selection process, which includes an online application with a policy proposal component and an interview for selected finalists. This year, 193 students made it to the interview round.
Brussel Faria and Sabin won the scholarship. According to Assistant Dean of Yale College and Director of Fellowship Programs Rebekah Westphal, the award can be a “real encouragement” for students pursuing public service careers.
“I was incredibly excited, definitely still a bit surreal,” Brussel Faria said. “It was absolutely a collective effort — just really, really excited and really grateful for all the support I had.”
Brussel Faria, who is majoring in ethnicity, race and migration while simultaneously completing pre-med classes, enjoys integrating the two areas through her work. She currently interns at the Equity Research and Innovation Center in the Yale School of Medicine, where she is involved with a project seeking to implement more experiential learning and community engagement programs into the School of Medicine curriculum. She has also conducted research with associate research scientist Mark Beitel on current therapy practices in Native American communities.
Outside of research, Brussel Faria is involved with Yale Emergency Medical Services, a student organization and Connecticut-licensed EMS agency that provides standby coverage for the Yale campus. She is currently a COVID-19 vaccinator for Yale Health. Last spring, at the onset of the pandemic, Brussel Faria volunteered at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens.
“The neighborhood that I was working in was really disproportionately affected [by the pandemic],” Brussel Faria said. “I think in some ways [the experience] was really difficult, but in many ways [it] solidified my interest in actually providing healthcare and going to medical school, and also my interest in trying to understand, more broadly, what systems are causing this really, really inequitable toll, particularly on people of color and low-income people.”
Brussel Faria said she has been interested in healthcare — and more specifically equity in healthcare — ever since she volunteered at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health with the White Mountain Apache Tribe during her gap year between high school and college in 2018. After medical school, she hopes to craft healthcare policy in a clinical setting that integrates healthcare with legal services.
For Brussel Faria, the Truman Scholarship application was an opportunity to reflect on her past experiences and consider her future plans.
“One thing about the Truman process [is] it makes you really critically think about who you are, what you want to do and kind of like take stock of yourself as a junior,” Brussel Faria said. “I think it’s a really useful process for anyone, regardless of the outcome.”
Brussel Faria added that there were “so many wonderful people” who helped her throughout the application process — including mentors in the Yale Fellowships and Funding Office and past Truman Scholars.
Sabin, a political science major, also expressed his gratitude for all the support he has received.
“I feel honored, humbled and very excited,” Sabin wrote in an email to the News. “I’m also just incredibly grateful for all the people in New Haven and in Connecticut who’ve supported and inspired me over the last few years.”
Sabin, who grew up in New Haven, currently serves as the Ward 1 Alder on the Board of Alders. He is also the director of the Connecticut Progressive Caucus.
Sabin wrote to the News that he loves serving the community and fighting to ensure that “local government is doing everything it can to serve people in this city.”
“One of my favorite parts of serving on the Board of Alders is showing up (especially before the pandemic), to political rallies, organizing meetings, community conversations and all the other events that are constantly happening in New Haven,” Sabin wrote. “Meeting folks and talking to them about the issues they want addressed is what local government is all about.”
After graduation, Sabin plans to obtain a law degree and to continue doing political and community service work in New Haven.
Bessie Bauman ’21 received the Truman Scholarship in 2020.