April 12, 2017

Commitment to public service earns Purdue junior prestigious Truman Scholarship

Mikaela Meyer Mikaela Meyer
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Harry S. Truman Foundation has named Purdue University junior Mikaela Meyer a 2017 Truman Scholar. She is the first Boilermaker to earn the highly competitive federal scholarship, which recognizes demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service.

The Valparaiso, Indiana native passed through a rigorous, multi-stage selection process to receive the award. Meyer is one of just 62 Truman Scholars selected nationally from a record number of participating institutions. She will receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming to help her prepare for a career in public service leadership.

Meyer is studying mathematical statistics in the College of Science and pursuing a minor in political science. She is also an active member of the Purdue Honors College. After graduation, Meyer hopes to work for the federal government, using statistics to inform public policy. She would like to assist in adapting regulations to better fit the evolving needs of the American people.

“Mikaela is committed to tackling tough problems by fostering civil and productive dialogue,” said Rhonda Phillips, dean of Purdue Honors College. “She not only has the ability to understand complex computational data, but can present it to others in a dynamic, transparent way.”

"Mikaela has tremendous potential to be a leader at the crossroads of statistics and public service. She is excellent in every regard: in her research investigations, in her leadership for the College Democrats, and in her academic performance in the Purdue Statistics Living Learning Community,” said Mark Ward, associate professor of statistics and head of the living learning community’s National Science Foundation grant.

Meyer is also a policy fellow with the Purdue Policy Research Institute. Together with other fellows, she is measuring the progress of states toward “NetZero” energy status and has assisted in researching and writing a policy brief on drone technology.

“It strikes me that Mikaela Meyer is exactly the type of excellent student and accomplished young leader we want to attract to public service,” said Laura Weldon, director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute. “Thank goodness for the country that she is so interested in public service.” 

Earlier this year, Meyer was named top speaker at the Indiana State Parliamentary Debate Competition and placed third overall with her partner. She held the state title her freshman and sophomore years. Meyer also is president of the Purdue College Democrats.

“Mikaela actively engaged in club activities immediately, registering voters, canvassing and traveling with the club to help in other states,” said Jonathan Neal, faculty adviser for the College Democrats and assistant professor of toxicology. “She was elected her freshman year, elevated over many more senior members. The club trusted her to lead the group forward, a testament to Mikaela’s temperament and leadership qualities.”

Meyer will receive her award with the other Truman Scholars in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum on May 28. Purdue’s National and International Scholarships Office, housed in Purdue’s Honors College, supported Meyer throughout her application and coordinates prestigious scholarship campus reviews. NISO develops student-scholars’ skills as they prepare their applications. 

Contact: Lindsay Perrault, 765-427-1923, lindsayperrault@purdue.edu

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