Santa Clara Student Named Finalist for Truman Scholarship
SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 16, 2022–Santa Clara University junior, Alexandria Perez—a triple major in public health, women's and gender studies, and political science—has been named a finalist for the 2022 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. A nationally distinguished graduate fellowship for college juniors in the United States pursuing careers as public service leaders, the Truman Scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate school as well as other leadership programs designed to support recipients in their work.
"On behalf of the entire Santa Clara University community, I congratulate Alexandria for this accomplishment," said Acting President Lisa Kloppenberg. "In her time at Santa Clara, Alexandria has demonstrated her passion for social justice, equity, inclusion, service, and leadership. We are so proud that the Truman Scholarship committee has recognized her as a finalist for this prestigious award."
An honors student, Perez has excelled academically at SCU. In addition to the coursework for her three majors, she participates in a faculty-student collaborative research project with Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies Sharmila Lodhia and Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies Jesica Siham Fernández. The project, “Radical Healing: A Student Activist Participatory Action Research Zine Project for Sociopolitical Wellbeing,” aims to build a historical archive of student of color activism on campus and how it has advanced racial and gender justice.
“It’s a great honor to be selected as a Truman Scholar finalist,” said Perez. “It not only recognizes my work in public service and leadership, but also affirms my ability to be a changemaker.”
Outside of the classroom, Perez has built an exemplary record of leadership and community service. She is the Inclusive Excellence Fellow for the SCU Division of Inclusive Excellence. She has served as co-president, vice president, and campus outreach officer for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She serves on the leadership team of Santa Clara University Athletic Diversity, and is the senator-at-large for diversity and inclusion for the SCU Associated Student Government. She is co-chair and alumni relations officer for the SCU Latinx Student Union, and has worked on the leadership team for New Student and Parent Programs. She has also worked as a food justice coordinator for the Forge Garden at SCU, and as an anti-racism book club facilitator for the SCU Athletic Department.
“I fervently believe that the best way to create social change is through education,” said Perez. “I am a hopeless believer in the good of humanity: that we, as people, have the capacity to be a society that espouses kindness, where empathy is shared, where equality is demanded, and where compassion is constant.”
Perez is an intern for the Intergovernmental Relations Team at the City of San José, and was a member of the founding cohort of the Emerging Leaders Fellow Program with the United Nations Association. She is the founder of Project Literacy in her home community of East Los Angeles, and the co-founder of the website, The Social Justice Resource.
“Alexandria succeeds as a leader because she puts the cause first and subordinates all that she does to the objectives she pursues,” said Stephen Carrol, lecturer in the Department of English and a member of the SCU nomination committee. “Yet at the same time, the defining trait of her leadership is that she practices cura personalis, the Jesuit phrase meaning care for the whole person. She advocates, she encourages, she listens deeply, she demonstrates her care for others in all she does.”
Perez hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public policy from the Heller School of Social Policy at Brandeis University, with an emphasis on gender and social policy.
“With this training, I will work to bridge the gap between academia, grassroots organizing, and more formal institutions that will continually allow me to grow in my activism and public service,” said Perez, adding that she would seek work with a community think tank or as a policy analyst.
This is the third straight year that a Santa Clara University student has been named a Truman Scholarship finalist. Since the inception of the award in 1977, four SCU students have been named Truman Scholars: Abigail Alvarez '22, Kim P. Olsen ‘87, Janet Napolitano ‘79, and Dierdre Kelly ‘81.
This year, the Truman Foundation’s selection committee received 705 applications from 275 institutions. The committee chose 189 finalists from 126 institutions based on records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement. On April 15, the foundation will name approximately 60 students as 2022 Truman Scholars.
About the Truman Scholarship
Created in 1977 by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, the Truman Scholarship is a premier graduate fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. It provides $30,000 for graduate school and programming to help each recipient be the best public servant possible. Past winners include Georgia activist and politician Stacey Abrams, former U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Santa Clara's own Janet Napolitano ‘79, former Arizona governor, director of U.S. Homeland Security, and president of the University of California.
About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see www.scu.edu.
Elliot Zanger | SCU Media Communications | firstname.lastname@example.org | 831-524-1004