Omolayo Ojo is competing for a highly competitive national fellowship awarded each year to those with goals of working in public service or government. Winners will be announced in April.
An Elon University student has been named a finalist for a 2014 Truman Scholarship, a prestigious national fellowship awarded each year to college juniors with goals of working in education, government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, or elsewhere in public service.
Omolayo Ojo, a junior international studies and strategic communications double major with minors in French and African & African-American Studies, is a finalist for an award that funds up to $30,000 for graduate study. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation received 655 applications from 294 colleges and universities.
Winners will be announced April 16, 2014. The foundation awarded 62 fellowships last year.
In addition to the monetary award, Truman Scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.
The Foundation, established by Congress in 1975 as a memorial to the 33rd president, awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The foundation has named 2,906 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977.
Ojo’s research interests are in migration, intercultural and international relations and community development. Ojo, who moved as a child to the United States from Nigeria, is the recipient of the university’s Lumen Prize, a $15,000 award to support her research into immigration.
She currently hopes to study migration and development at the School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London after her graduation from Elon next year.
“I’m so honored to be able to move on to the next stage and I really hope I get a chance to join such an incredible group of people. It will be an affirmation of my commitment to public service,” Ojo said. “Regardless of the results, it won’t stop here. I just have to continue to try and be the change I want to see in the world – that’s all service is really about. But with the scholarship, I’ll be able to go to graduate school sooner and gain the skills I need to make the world a better place.”
Ojo also is the recipient of an Elon Presidential Scholarship and the Kenan Scholarship, the university’s top award for incoming students that covers full tuition for four years. The Honors Fellow is a member of the Periclean Scholars, the Sigma Iota Rho international studies honor society, and the Omricon Delta Kappa leadership honor society.
Last spring Ojo became the first Elon student to win the national David L. Boren Scholarship, which gives students financial backing to study the languages and cultures of Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Eurasia, and Central and Eastern Europe. She studied in the West African nation of Senegal during the Fall 2013 semester.
Ojo is the daughter of Valentine Ojo and Agathachristy Ojo of Tall Timbers, Md.
Breanna Detwiler ‘09 was the first Elon University student to win a Truman Scholarship. She received the honor in 2008.