Purdue AGEC student selected as Truman Scholarship Finalist


Written by Kendell Combs

The Truman Scholarship is a highly competitive national scholarship. Each year, their Foundation reviews over 600 applications and usually awards 65 scholarships from that group. Those 600 applications don’t include the students who compete on their own campus for one of the school's four nominations. The AGEC and College of Agriculture as a whole is very fortunate to have of our own Katriel Marks (Junior; Applied Agricultural Economics; Carmel, IN) as one of 199 Truman Scholarship Finalists chosen from 143 institutions.

Katriel explains that the Truman Scholarship is unique in the sense that you don't really choose whether or not to apply for it. Faculty and staff are asked for their nominations. After she was nominated, Katriel met with the Purdue National and International Scholarship Office and began the first round of the application. That was back in October, and since then she has been working on several sets of essays detailing her leadership experience, public service, grad school plans, and a policy proposal. “It's been a very long, very trying process, but I've learned a lot about writing, grad school, and myself through it.”

This scholarship is largely about past experiences in leadership and public service. Because of Katriel’s passion for food security, she was able to frame the application around improving food systems. During high school, Katriel participated in the World Food Prize Indiana Youth Institute as the only student from Carmel. Having no previous experience with agriculture, this was quite the life changing experience, and she later worked with Carmel teachers and Purdue staff to grow the program. Now, over 400 students participate every year. Katriel is currently studying abroad at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and participated in the Land O'Lakes Global Food Challenge last summer. “More personally, I struggled with a bit of malnutrition myself throughout high school before I learned I have Celiac disease, which really makes food issues personal for me.”

One of the best parts of the Truman Scholarship application process in Katriel’s opinion is that it forces you to define exactly what you plan to do in the next 10 years. This includes graduate school plans, your first job, and a job 5-7 years after grad school. She would like to work in market design for agricultural trade in order to improve food security globally. This could mean anything from implementing global food quality standards to redesigning foreign aid structures, but her idea is to create a market environment where agricultural goods can be freely traded by all. “I'd like to pursue a master’s followed by a Ph.D. in Development Economics specializing in Agricultural and Food Economics, and if selected for the Truman Scholarship, I'd love to intern for the US Office of the Chief Agricultural Negotiator. However, even if I'm not selected, these are still opportunities I will pursue!”

A big congratulations to Katriel and good luck to her for the final part of this process! We are Boilermaker proud!

For more information about the Truman Scholarship or the Foundation, visit this site.



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