McMurtry College senior Mishi Jain is among the 62 college students from 54 U.S. colleges and universities who have been selected as 2017 Truman Scholars. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States.
A native of Sugar Land, Texas, Jain is a political science and policy studies double major, with concentrations in comparative politics and international relations. Her interests in public policy stem from her goal to promote comprehensive immigration reform that accounts for the needs of all minority groups.
“Mishi has a very impressive record as a leader on campus, president of the Baker Institute Student Forum, co-founder of Rice’s chapter of the American Association of University Women, among many other accomplishments,” said Danika Burgess, director of curriculum and fellowships in Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership.
Jain has previously interned at the National Diversity Council, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas.
Jain plans to use the Truman funding to attend law school and pursue a joint J.D./M.P.P. program with a focus on immigration policy and law. She said she hopes to work in the Domestic Policy Council of the White House on immigration policy and “bring in the voices of communities of color to the table.”
Jain said she became interested in immigration policy after fully understanding how substantially it impacts the lives of people around her. She’s specifically interested in studying how immigration affects the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and is working to ameliorate the problems that exist. “Too often the AAPI population is deemed a ‘model minority’ and is thus left out of the national dialogue on immigration, which masks the serious concerns the community faces,” she said. “The government, now more than ever, needs leaders of color like myself who are committed to being agents of change and spearheading comprehensive immigration reform.”
The selection of Truman Scholars is based on students’ record of leadership, public service and academic achievement and their likelihood of becoming public leaders. Each Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 toward graduate school and the opportunity to participate in professional development programs to help prepare them for careers in public service leadership.
Candidates for the Truman Scholarship go through a rigorous, multistage selection process. The 768 candidates for this year’s award were nominated by 315 colleges and universities, according to the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.
“Finding out that I was selected as a 2017 Truman Scholar was easily one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” Jain said. “The feeling of joy, affirmation and absolute happiness after a six-month application process was incredibly rewarding. The Truman Scholarship stands for public service and social change, and I’m honored to be selected for such a prestigious scholarship that aligns with my goals and values. Beyond the funding, I am eager to be joining a community of public servants that are so incredibly passionate about pursuing social change.”
The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the 33rd president and is supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury. In addition to funding for graduate school, recipients receive priority admission at some premier graduate schools, career counseling, leadership training and special internship opportunities with the federal government.
Jain will receive her award in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum May 28.