A University of Utah student and daughter of a Vietnamese boat refugee has been chosen as a 2014 Truman Scholar, continuing the U.’s record of producing winners of the federally funded $30,000 graduate school award.
Tianna Tu’s background gives her a personal perspective on how “human rights abuses and the ravages of war can leave individuals and communities broken for generations,” according to a U. statement, and inspired her career choice in international development and democracy.
Some 2 million people fled Vietnam after the end of the war there in 1975, many of them on boats.
Set to graduate next year with a double major in political science and international studies, Tu plans to pursue a joint law degree and master’s of business administration and subsequently a career in international development. Tu has been an intern at the U.S. State Department and also served three Hinckley Institute internships. Her community service projects include an extensive mentoring program to help underprivileged high school girls attend college.
“It is an honor to be recognized among so many other talented candidates,” Tu said in a statement. “I am excited to continue my journey of public service, and hope my selection empowers other young leaders to aspire for greatness and pursue seemingly unachievable goals.”
The scholarship was created by Congress in 1975 as a memorial to President Harry S. Truman. Thousands of American students apply each year for the scholarship, which provides funding for those who want to work in government or public service. The U. is the only school in the country to have a Truman winner in seven of the last eight years.