Elon junior a finalist for Truman Scholarship

Derrick Luster ’20 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 2019 Truman Scholarship, a prestigious national fellowship awarded each year to college juniors who seek to work in education, government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, or elsewhere in public service.

Derrick Luster '20 is a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. 
Derrick Luster ’20, a political science major who is minoring in sociology and African and 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 840 applications from 346 colleges and universities for this year’s awards.

Winners will be announced on April 17. Last year, the foundation selected 59 students from 52 colleges and universities for awards.

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 more than 3,000 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977.

An Elon College Fellow, Luster has been recognized for his academic achievements at the Phillips-Perry Black Excellence Awards at Elon and has participated in the Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program at Duke University, where he would like to pursue a dual-degree program that pairs a law degree with a master’s in public policy.

His undergraduate research examines the comparative impact of congressional redistricting versus independent redistricting on electoral outcomes and on descriptive representation for racial minorities, with Assistant Professor of Political Science Jessica Carew serving as his mentor. Luster has served as vice president and then president of the Black Student Union and as a senator in the Student Government Association, working with both groups to organize a town hall on race relations.

Luster serves on the President’s Student Leadership Advisory Council, the Student Inclusive Campus Committee and is one of two students serving on the university’s Strategic Planning Committee, which is now working toward developing Elon’s next 10-year plan.

Breanna Detwiler ’09 was the first Elon University student to win a Truman Scholarship. She received the honor in 2008. To learn more about the Truman Scholarship and other nationally competitive awards, visit the National and International Fellowships website.