Westminster College Announces First-Ever Harry S. Truman Scholar

 Kenzie Campbell, Truman finalist

April 12, 2019

McKenzie Campbell to pursue research on sexual violence

Westminster College announces junior McKenzie Campbell (Honors ’20) has been awarded the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship – the first-ever awardee for the institution. Recipients of the Truman Scholarship receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming to help prepare them for careers in public service leadership.

Campbell is an Honors College student who is pursuing her undergraduate degree in psychology and justice studies. She plans to take a gap year and then pursue a Master of Public Administration with a gender-based violence emphasis at the University of Colorado—Denver.

“I am planning on going into a leadership position with a gender-based, violence-prevention nonprofit,” Campbell said. “I want to eventually be an executive director of a nonprofit like Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA). I also really like psychology research on sexual violence, so I hope to find a way to stay incorporated in that field. It’s important to me because as we learn more about the root causes and unique issues facing sexual violence, we can find more catered ways to end it."

“Kenzie inspires me,” said Alicia Cunningham-Bryant, Westminster’s director of fellowship advising and assistant professor for the Honors College. “She makes me believe that real substantive change — change for our most vulnerable populations — is not only possible, but eminently achievable. I genuinely consider working with her this past year as one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

“Westminster has really given me the necessary time to engage in exploring my interests and what I want to study,” Campbell said. “In my sophomore year, I got a job on campus as a volunteer coordinator for the Dumke Center for Civic Engagement, and I fell in love with the work and with interacting with nonprofits. Westminster and the faculty have shown me they’re on my side and supported me in so many ways. Without their support, I couldn’t have found the path that’s right for me or felt prepared for the accomplishments ahead.”

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation’s living memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The foundation has a mission to select and support the next generation of public service leaders. The Truman award has become one of the most prestigious national scholarships in the United States.

Annually, candidates for the Truman Scholarship go through a rigorous, multi-stage selection process. In 2019, there were 840 candidates for the award nominated by 346 colleges and universities — a record number of both applications and institutions. The 199 finalists for the award were interviewed in March and early April at one of 16 regional selection panels. Sixty-two new Truman Scholars were selected in 2019. They will receive their awards in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum on Sunday, May 26, 2019.

Trumans are working in the West Wing, sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court and serving in federal and state legislatures. They are transforming nonprofits, delivering crucial services and organizing for change in local communities. And, Truman Scholars are leaders in academia, research and health care; they can be found in every branch of the Armed Services; and many make a difference beyond the borders of the United States.

“It is rare to meet someone for whom public service is not just something they do but is at the heart of who they are — and that is Kenzie,” Cunningham-Bryant added. “Her passion for combating gender-based violence, and her drive to find concrete policy-based solutions, fills me with hope for better policies, laws and government in the future.”