University of Iowa

WANTED:Troublemakers, Policy Wonks, and Change Agents

UI Undergraduate Fellowships is recruiting college juniors with uncommon leadership and/or advocacy experience, a clear(ish) sense of what they want to change about the world, and a commitment to figuring out what they need to do exactly that.

If you are someone who is thinking through, reading about, and taking action to resolve (even in small, every-day ways) complex social, cultural, and economic problems, we want to talk to you about the Truman Scholarship and the financial support, professional training, and community that comes with it.

The mission of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

is to recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service; and to provide them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service.

The Truman Foundation defines public service as future employment in:

  • government at any level,
  • uniformed services,
  • public-interest organizations,
  • nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations,
  • public and private schools, and
  • public service-oriented nonprofit organizations.

Applying for the Truman Scholarship at the University of Iowa

Thank you for your interest in applying for campus nomination to the Truman Scholarship at the University of Iowa. Establishing an early connection to the scholar development resources, workshop opportunities, and tailored fellowship advising available to students serves everyone involved in this challenging, but extraordinarily rewarding process.  I look forward to your questions and to your applications. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Kelly Thornburg, Director of Scholar Development, as soon as they are aware of their interest in this and any other fellowship opportunity at

Does the mission align with your values?

In recruiting and supporting Truman candidates, the mission of the Truman Foundation and the organization's vision for what being a "public servant" should mean is really influential.  Because of this influence, I want to make sure that all of our prospective candidates are familiar with this piece:

What does 40 years of supporting the work and study of young public servants mean to scholars? Click here to watch a celebration of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship's 40th Anniversary and get a sense of what "being a Truman" means to past scholars.


Are you a strong candidate for the Truman Scholarship? This checklist can help you begin a conversation with yourself that we hope you will continue with the DSD, a faculty mentor, or a departmental advisor who is familiar with the fellowship. Students often define qualifying experiences differently than funding organizations, so we see this tool as a conversation starter instead of an assessment used to discourage students from exploring their connection with the Truman Foundation's mission.

    Aren't sure where to get started when it comes to your campus application essays? I encourage everyone to work with me prior to our campus deadline.  I also ask prospective applicants to work through a handful of questions that typically generate useful content and momentum for application development. 

    How do I apply for campus nomination?

    Students must submit a complete campus application package to our Director of Scholar Development (DSD) by the established campus deadline


    How do I recommend my student for campus nomination?


    Recommenders must submit their confidential letters of recommendation to the DSD at by the established campus deadline.

    • See our our "Supporting Recommenders Guide" for more information about how to build a competitive letter for the national fellowship applicant.
    • Remember! The Truman Scholarship requires that each of the three letters submitted at the nomination level (in February) address specific aspects of their nominee's potential.  Each campus applicant is expected to use these directions to guide the selection of their recommenders, as well as a resource in your preparation and support.  If you have accepted an invitation to write for a campus applicant for the Truman Scholarship, but are not sure of your designated role, please let your applicant and/or the DSD know.
    •  If campus applicants or referees are not able to meet the established date, it is their responsibility to contact the Director of Scholar Development by phone at 335-1874 to discuss an alternative timeline.

    University of Iowa Truman Family:

    To view a list of the University of Iowa's past Truman scholars, finalists, and institutional nominees, click here.