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News Release

Two U of M students receive prestigious Truman Scholarships

Who: Rebecca Mitchell, Joseph Walla

Contacts: Sally Lieberman, CLA Honors, 612-624-0399,
Tessa Eagan, CLA External Relations, 612-625-3781,

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (03/29/2006) —Two Honors students in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Rebecca Lynn Mitchell and Joseph Hartman Walla, have been named 2006 Harry S. Truman Scholars.
The Truman Scholarship is awarded each year to approximately 75 college juniors who are committed to careers in public service. Truman Scholars must have outstanding academic records, demonstrated leadership skills and a history of engagement in community service, government or political activism. The scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, and carries a service commitment.
Mitchell, a biology, society and environment major, grew up in Chippewa Falls, Wis. She plans to earn a combined doctorate and masters degree in public health and pursue a career in international health care and health policy. Volunteer experiences last summer at a clinic and orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya, inspired Mitchell to focus on health issues in Africa, particularly those affecting women.
“You will meet few 21-year-olds who possess the compassion, intellectual abilities and leadership qualities that Rebecca does. You will meet even fewer still, who are already actively using these skills to better the lives of others every day and inspiring so many along the way to do the same,” said Leonard Muyelele, principal of the Kenyan Pistis Academy and Orphanage, where Mitchell volunteered.
Walla is a summa candidate in political science from Edina, Minn. He intends to earn a master’s degree in public policy with a focus on international affairs. He will defer his graduate education, however, in order to complete a professional internship in Asia for the 2006-07 year as a recipient of another prestigious award, the Henry Luce Foundation Scholarship.
Political science professor Martin Sampson had high praise for Walla and his proposal submitted for the Truman Scholarship. “For many years, I have thought the United States needs to find subtle ways to change the atmospherics of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute without relying on face-to-face negotiations or changes in leadership on either side,” Sampson said. “Joseph Walla has found such an idea that had never occurred to me. I cannot recall being as fascinated by a student’s original idea on a very complex policy issue as I am by the Walla proposal.”
Three University of Minnesota-Twin Cities students were nominated in 2006. The third nominee, College of Liberal Arts Honors student Nathan Wanderman, was a 2006 Truman Finalist, also an extraordinary public honor. Seven University of Minnesota-Twin Cities students have been awarded Truman Scholarships since 2000; 19 have won since the scholarship was established by an act of Congress in 1975.
Other University of Minnesota-Twin Cities undergraduates who have won prestigious scholarships in 2006 include Barry M. Goldwater Scholars Elizabeth Barnes, Eman Haidari, Akash Kumar, and Kimberly VanderWaal and Rhodes Scholar Diana Fu. In the last six years, the College of Liberal Arts has had three Rhodes Scholars, including Diana Fu.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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