Three UM Students Named Truman Finalists

Published 12:29 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

OXFORD, Miss. – Three University of Mississippi juniors who have worked to improve access to education and to raise awareness about mental health issues have been named finalists for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

National finalists for the honor were announced Friday (Feb. 18). Jilkiah Bryant, a junior public health and health sciences major from Macon; Andy Flores, junior public policy leadership and philosophy major from Ocean Springs; and Alex Bush, a junior psychology major from Denver, are among them. All three are members of the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

They’re vying for up to $30,000 in scholarships each.

Vivian Ibrahim, director of the UM Office of National Scholarship Advisement, has been working with the students on their applications. She is extremely proud of them.

“The students are exceptional this year,” Ibrahim said. “Mississippi has such brain drain with our young talent leaving the state.

“What we have here are young trailblazers who really want to give back to their communities and really want to improve things in the long-term. They are not just looking at right now.”

The two Mississippi students will participate in regional competitions March 18 in Nashville, and Bush will compete March 11 in Denver. No matter what happens there, the students are difference-makers, Ibrahim said.

“These are young people who are going to clearly change what our state looks like and what Colorado looks like,” Ibrahim said. “They really have already made such inroads.”

“At the age of 40, I have not done what they have done. They are amazing.”

The scholarship, which memorializes the nation’s 33rd president, awards merit-based scholarships to college students who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Truman Scholars receive funds for graduate or professional school, participate in leadership development activities and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.

Students selected as Truman Scholars are invited to participate in the Truman Washington Summer Institute following their junior year to deepen their understanding of the national policymaking process.