Two Elon juniors named finalists for Truman Scholarships

Two Elon University juniors have been named finalists for a 2008 Truman Scholarship, a prestigious national fellowship for graduate study awarded annually “to persons who demonstrate outstanding potential for and who plan to pursue a career in public service.”

Breanna Detwiler and Victoria Davis were among 187 finalists from 122 institutions nationwide. Finalists were announced Feb. 20 by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, which was established by Congress in 1975 as a memorial to the 33rd president.

It is the first time in seven years that an Elon student has been named a finalist for the scholarship. Winners are announced March 25, 2008, and receive a $30,000 scholarship for graduate study. The Truman Foundation named 65 scholars last year.

Detwiler, of Warrenton, Va., is an environmental studies major with minors in non-violence and religious studies. With research interests in food security and farmland conservation, Detwiler, who turns 21 in three days, is planning to attend law school to study environmental law.

“This recognition affirms my vision for my career in environmental conservation,” Detwiler said. “Receiving this award would mean being able to achieve my goal of attending law school and larger dream of helping farmers preserve their family farms.”

At Elon, Detwiler manages the Elon Community Garden, is a member of Whole Earth and College Democrats, works on the Student Environmental Sustainability Council and is the student coordinator of the Elon Academy. She is an Elon University Honors Fellow and a member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. Detwiler is the daughter of Feliecia Brooks Detwiler.

“Breanna Detwiler is the kind of student who will continue to be a change agent throughout her life, and who will use her passion for environmental justice to make our world a safer, more secure place,” said Janet Myers, an English professor and fellowship adviser at Elon. “She has ably demonstrated a commitment to leadership and public service, two of the key elements sought among Truman candidates.”

Davis, of Fripp Island, S.C., is an international studies and political science major with research interests that include culture and politics, and international human rights. The 21-year-old plans to attend graduate school, possibly Georgetown University, before entering the U.S. Foreign Service. She is an Elon University Honors Fellow and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Truman process,” Davis said, “and I believe it will be a valuable experience for a future career in government service.”

Davis is also secretary of the Intercultural Relations Club, acts as co-director of awareness programs for Elon Volunteers!, serves as treasurer of the Asian Studies Club, plays club tennis and will travel to Cambodia in May 2008 for a university service trip she initiated. She is the daughter of Greg and Ellen Davis, and her older sister, Kelsey, graduates from Elon this spring.

“Tori’s commitment to public service has been evidenced on Elon’s campus through initiatives she has created at both the local and the global levels, including the Alamance County Experience, an anti-poverty simulation for first-year students, and the Cambodia service trip that will take place this spring,” Myers said. “She has the ambition, dedication, and intellectual capability to make a significant impact in the field of international human rights.”

For more information on the Truman Scholarship, click on the link below.

Breanna Detwiler (left) and Victoria Davis

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