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Villanova Junior Jessica Wamala Awarded 2012 Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Wamala becomes the sixth Villanovan to receive a Truman Scholarship

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University student Jessica Wamala ’13, from Milford, N.H., is the recipient of a 2012 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. She is a Villanova Presidential Scholar and the sixth Villanovan to be awarded a Truman Scholarship since 1984.

The mission of the Truman Scholarship Foundation is to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to making a difference through public service. Nationwide, Wamala is one of 54 recipients awarded for 2012. Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study.

“As a Villanova University Presidential Scholar, Jessica exemplifies the qualities of an academic leader, applying what she has learned in the classroom to directly address social injustices through education and awareness,” said Jane Morris, Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at Villanova.

Wamala is pursuing a triple major in political science, Honors, and Arab and Islamic studies as well as a minor in Arabic language. As advocacy chair of the Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia, she works to combat homelessness through outreach and advocacy. Wamala also is a member of Villanova’s NCAA Division I varsity women’s basketball team, after making the team as a walk-on during her sophomore year.

During the summer of 2011, Wamala studied foreign affairs as part of the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program. This six-week summer program is designed to provide undergraduate students with a deeper appreciation of current issues and trends in international affairs, a greater understanding of career opportunities in international affairs, and the enhanced knowledge and skills to pursue such careers. The program typically selects no more than 20 participants, known as Rangel Scholars, annually.

Wamala asserts that her time as a Rangel Scholar solidified her desire to work as a political officer in the Foreign Service. This summer, she will serve as a State Department Overseas Intern in the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, where she will learn first-hand about the political and socio-economic implications of race and ethnic divisions.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the 33rd president of the United States. In addition to the scholarship funding, Truman Scholars receive leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the non-profit sector.

There have been 2,844 Truman Scholars selected since the inaugural awards in 1977. The 2012 Truman Scholars will assemble May 22 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and receive their awards in a ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., on May 27, 2012.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.