Two BYU students were awarded some of the most prestigious scholarships that the United States has to offer.
Soren Schmidt, a junior from Rexburg, Idaho, majoring in political science, was selected to win the Truman Scholarship Award. Fifty-four out of 775 applicants were selected to win the scholarship for 2016. Schmidt will be the only recipient from BYU to receive the award for 2016.
“The Truman Scholarship is special in the way that it really opens doors for you,” Schmidt said. “I’m just so thankful that I’m going to get a chance to take some of my ideas about how to make government better to the next level.”
This year, the scholarship winners will be awarded in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO, on May 29. They will each receive $30,000 towards graduate school for studies in public service.
Schmidt said he has enjoyed participating in many local public service opportunities during his time at BYU with the Provo City Council and the BYU Political Science Department.
“I’m really grateful for the chance to keep working on new projects in the future,” Schmidt said. “Hopefully this will let me do that.”
The Truman award winners are usually announced by the students’ college or university president and are characterized by surprise visits to the classroom or by calling a meeting under some other pretense, according to an email by the executive secretary of the foundation.
In addition, Jared Meeks, a BYU student was selected as a Udall scholarship winner for 2016, the first BYU winner since 1998. He will receive $7,000 in scholarship awards.
The Udall scholarship honors the legacies of Morris and Stewart Udall, who significantly influenced American Indian self-governance, health care, and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources, according to the Udall Foundation website.
“I’m so thankful for the chance that this will give me to make a big impact with the things that I really care about,” Schmidt said.