By Brittany Steadman
Two BYU students have been selected to be candidates for a nationwide scholarship program. Jamie Wyatt and Melissa Ward applied for the Truman Scholarship last fall and were selected to compete with other students across the nation.
The Truman Scholarship is a government program that offers $30,000 to approximately one student from each state.
Candidates have to be juniors or seniors and planning to attend graduate school. The candidates also have to be going into a public service field.
Wyatt, 21, a junior majoring in social work from Kansas City, Kan., applied after hearing about the scholarship at an honors and general education scholarship conference. She said she never planned on being accepted.
“I never expected to be a finalist. I applied on a whim and am really grateful for the opportunity I received,” Wyatt said.
Potential candidates apply through BYU with a seven-page application, three letters of recommendation and a policy analysis.
Two to four candidates from BYU are chosen to compete in the national contest. However, once the candidates are nominated by BYU, they have to be chosen by the national judges.
If they are chosen to participate in the national program, a panel of judges interview the contestants and the selections are made.
BYU nominates candidates every year, but not all go on to compete nationally.
Sven Wilson, a professor of political science, is on the committee for the Truman Scholarship and said he is very happy to have two BYU candidates selected as finalists for the scholarship.
“Both students are great applicants and are very strong candidates for the scholarship,” he said.
Wilson said Wyatt and Ward were chosen based on their academic record, commitment to service, and their desire to have an academic career that coincides with public service.
Wyatt said once she was selected to participate in the scholarship program, she flew to Kansas City for the interview.
“The interview was about twenty to forty minutes and the judges were able to ask anything they wanted. I was asked questions about my religion, my family, and my future,” she said.
Emily Dougall, 20, a junior majoring in nursing from Portland, Ore., is roommates with Wyatt and said she is a good candidate for the scholarship.
“Jaime is dedicated in whatever she does and she will definitely benefit from the scholarship and use the money correctly,” she
Dougall said Wyatt is very active and participates in many service and leadership opportunities. Wyatt also is a good student and is on a BYU academic scholarship.
Although Wyatt won”t find out if she receives the scholarship until March 22, she said the experience was enough for her.
“I had so much fun and was able to meet so many unique judges and unique applicants. It was a great experience and good preparation for graduate school,” she said.
Wyatt plans on getting her masters in social work with or without the scholarship. She plans on being involved in public service and wants to focus on hospital social work, especially with children.
Ward was unavailable for comment.