Graduating senior Lesley Garaycochea was named the U’s finalist in the Harry S. Truman Scholarship program.
Garaycochea, a nontraditional student in the family and consumer studies program, was selected as one of 197 finalists from 775 applicants. Participation was represented by 130 colleges and universities from across the nation.
Gina Shipley, Hinckley Institute of Politics’ national program manager, supervised Garaycochea’s application process.
“We are so proud of Lesley [Garaycochea],” Shipley said. “The Truman Scholarship is a nationally competitive graduate school scholarship for juniors or seniors who want to make a difference. They really are for students who include public service among their top life goals.”
Garaycochea has been involved in service throughout her undergraduate career, advocating for victims of domestic and sexual violence through the courts, the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office and the Utah State Legislature. She has served in several campus and community leadership positions while maintaining the academic standard required to apply.
As a finalist, Garaycochea is one of dozens of U alumni who were in the same position and 25 former winners. The U has produced seven Truman Scholars in the last eight years — more than any other school in the country.
Shipley said she feels the success is due to the resources the Institute offers.
“We provide a lot of mentoring and opportunities to find their path,” Shipley said. “Part of the application is leadership, and we can really facilitate that with all of the opportunities and connections we have locally, globally and internationally.”
In addition to internships, the Hinckley Institute offers courses, seminars, forums, outreach opportunities and a minor in campaign management.
If selected as a recipient, Garaycochea plans to use the $30,000 scholarship to finance a joint JD and Masters of Public Policy degree focusing on criminal law and domestic policy. However, there are other advantages to the award as well.
“The scholarship award is substantive, but it goes beyond financial gains,” Shipley said. “You’re part of this elite group for all future endeavors. It opens a lot of doors.”
The Truman Foundation will release the names of 55-65 scholarship winners on April 22.