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University of Iowa News Release


March 31, 2009

UI honors student Rachel Nathanson wins 2009 Truman Scholarship

A University of Iowa Honors Program student who plans to pursue a career in global change science and policy is one of 60 students across the nation who was named a 2009 Truman Scholar. Rachel Nathanson, a UI junior from West Des Moines, is one of 60 students from 55 U.S. colleges and universities who has been selected for the award.

In announcing the winners, Madeleine K. Albright, Truman Scholarship Foundation president, noted that the award is given on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of "making a difference."

Nathanson, who is majoring in economics and geography in the College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, respectively, hopes to specialize in environmental law and policy in her future career. She has served as a two-term UI Student Government senator, a leader in the University of Iowa Environmental Coalition, a business fraternity vice president of service and a residence halls campus affairs director. Nathanson has studied in Spain, interned for the Iowa Office of Energy Independence, and worked on alpine tundra research with the geography department. She also enjoys salsa dancing and volunteering at the local live theater.

The 60 scholars were selected from among 601 candidates nominated by 289 colleges and universities. Each selection panel interviewed finalists from a three- to four-state region and generally elected one scholar from each state and one at-large scholar from the region. Each panel typically included a university president, a federal judge, a distinguished public servant and a past Truman Scholarship winner. Nathanson worked closely with the University of Iowa Honors Program in preparing her scholarship application.

Each Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also 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. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.

Congress established the Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975 as the federal memorial to the 33rd U.S. president. The foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury. There have been 2,670 Truman Scholars elected since the first awards were made in 1977.

For a listing of the 2009 scholars and more information on the Truman Scholarship Foundation, visit

For more information on Nathanson visit

For more information on the UI Honors Program visit:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Beloy, UI Honors Program, 319-335-1874; Lois J. Gray, University News Service, 319-384-0077,