03/25/2013 08:54 AM
BATON ROUGE – LSU juniors Catherine Fontenot of Basile, La., and Matthew Landrieu
of New Orleans have been selected as a finalists for the nationally competitive Truman
Scholarship, awarded by the Harry S. Truman Foundation.
Both Fontenot, an LSU Honors College student and biological sciences major in the
College of Science, and Landrieu, an LSU Honors College student and elementary education
major in the College of Human Sciences & Education, participated in final interviews
on March 8 in Fort Worth, Texas. Truman Scholarship recipients will be announced on
Thursday, April 11, online at www.truman.gov.
Truman Scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years
following completion of a foundation-funded graduate degree program as a condition
of their receiving Truman funds. Part of the application process is for the students
to create policy to address a current issue.
“LSU students have a strong history of public service,” said LSU Honors College Dean
Nancy Clark. “Matt and Catherine are outstanding representatives of this tradition,
and we are immensely proud of them both.”
Fontenot plans to pursue Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees, with
concentrations in internal medicine and infectious disease/global health after she
graduates from LSU in May 2014. Fontenot said she developed two passions while at
LSU that forged her career goals: understanding other cultures and helping the community
through medical services.
“Once I completed my internship with the Volunteer Health Corp here in town last summer,
it gave me a good picture on why people don’t have access to healthcare, which got
me focused on this important topic,” she said. “When I began thinking about the Truman
Scholarship, it really focused me on the next 15 years of my life. You plan graduate
schools, you plan what you will do after grad schools, and you plan what you will
do with the rest of your life.”
Once Fontenot becomes a physician, she plans to dedicate her career to working locally
and internationally, in clinics and in community research, to decrease the rate of
HIV infection and improve treatments.
“We are proud of Catherine’s academic accomplishments in the classrooms and in the
research labs, and we marvel at her commitment to serve the needy sectors of our community,”
said Guillermo Ferreyra, interim dean of the LSU College of Science. “We celebrate
and congratulate Catherine for being named a Truman Scholarship Finalist, and we wish
her continued success in her future endeavors.”
Landrieu plans to pursue a master’s degree focused on policy, organization and leadership
studies from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education after he graduates from LSU in
May 2014. He believes that the Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies Program
will lay the groundwork for a long career fighting social inequalities through educational
reform and community development.
“I see so many disparities in what it’s like to be black in the South versus what
it’s like to be white in the South and what it’s like to be poor versus what it’s
like to be rich and how that influences educational achievement,” Landrieu said. “A
lot of my focus is how can we as educators of our youth create policies, classrooms,
curriculums and communities that support transformative education to help those who
come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Social mobility, to me, is what it comes down
to in a democracy.”
Upon completing his graduate studies, Landrieu hopes to work as a classroom teacher
in New Orleans public schools for at least five years, and as a longer-term goal,
he wants to help rebuild the public school system in New Orleans.
“The College of Human Sciences and Education faculty and staff are delighted to learn
that this outstanding young man has been selected as a finalist for the Truman Scholarship,”
said Laura Lindsay, dean of the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education. “His high
standards, commitment to the greater good of society and children in particular, along
with his leadership qualities contribute to making Matt an extraordinary individual.
We know that his passion and talents will make a difference in the lives of the children
This year the Harry S. Truman Foundation received 629 applications from 293 colleges
and universities. The Finalist Selection Committee selected 199 candidates from 136
colleges and universities as finalists. Fontenot and Landrieu are joined by the University
of Texas junior Jenna Milani as the only students from Louisiana selected as finalists.
Since 2005, LSU has had 17 Truman Scholarship finalists, and has had six Truman Scholars
in the university’s history: Allen Richey, 2003; Jacob Landry, 2005; Cynthia “CC”
DuBois, 2006; Claire Kendig, 2008; Micaela de Gruy, 2009; and Devon Wade, 2010.
The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal
memorial to the 33rd president. The mission of the Truman Scholarship Foundation is
to find and recognize college students with exceptional leadership potential who are
committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or
elsewhere in public service; and to provide them with financial support for graduate
study, leadership training and fellowship with other students who are committed to
making a difference through public service.
The LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising was created to assist students in applying for prestigious scholarships and fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Mitchell, Udall, Truman and Goldwater awards. Students interested in applying for these and other scholarship opportunities or for more information on the office, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Monday, March 25, 2013