Auburn University junior named finalist for Harry S. Truman Scholarship

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Auburn University student Allen Li has been named a finalist for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship and will interview virtually Friday for one of the 60 available Truman Scholarships nationwide.

Li, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, is an Honors College junior majoring in political science and economics with a minor in philosophy within the College of Liberal Arts.

Among his many activities, Li serves as a member of War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen, vice president of Pi Lambda Sigma Pre-Law Honor Society and member of Human Rights Campaign’s Asian American and Pacific Islander, or AAPI, Queer Visibility Working Group.

Li has been heavily involved in the Student Government Association, or SGA, serving as assistant vice president of academic affairs as a junior, director of diversity, equity and inclusion as a sophomore and on the Lobby Board as a freshman. Li interned last summer for the Human Rights Campaign, as well as received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from Auburn.

He has been on the forefront of LGBTQIA issues at Auburn. As a sophomore, Li developed the Inclusive Housing Project, which specifically addresses LGBTQIA student issues regarding the roommate matching process. Li developed a three-phase plan with SGA that focuses on prioritizing a safe space for students who may be dealing with harassment, misgendering, fear and anxiety.

“I’m so proud of the work I’ve done,” said Li. “It means a lot to show the nation and the Truman Foundation how much Auburn University has changed and improved with LGBTQIA issues and how far we’ve come in just a few short years. The power of diversity, equity and inclusion is real, and this work is highlighting to the nation that Auburn understands and is working toward a better future.”

Alex Sauer, coordinator for scholarship and research in the Honors College, said, “Allen is an exceptional student and experienced public servant with a drive to give a voice to the voiceless. I am so proud of Allen for being selected as a Truman finalist, and regardless of the outcome, he is well on his way to changing the world for the better.”

The Truman Scholarship Program was established to provide scholarships to outstanding students who are committed to a career in public service. Created in 1975 by an act of Congress, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship is awarded to approximately 60 college juniors each year on the basis of four criteria: service on campus and in the community, commitment to a career in public service, communication ability and aptitude to be a “change agent” and academic talent that would assure acceptance to a first-rate graduate school. More broadly, Truman Scholars possess intellect, leadership skills and passion that would make them a likely force for the public good in any field.

Scholars receive an award of $30,000 that goes toward post-graduate education. In addition, Truman Scholars participate in leadership development programs and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.

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