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Riley Arnold BA ’19 Selected as Truman Scholarship Finalist

March 23, 2018

Psychology major Riley Arnold BA ’19 studies human interactions with nature and sustainability. She has been selected as a finalist for the Truman Scholarship, a highly competitive fellowship that awards undergraduate students who show exceptional commitment to positive social change and will go on to pursue careers in public service.

This year, the Harry S. Truman Foundation selected 194 applicants as finalists from 313 institutions. If awarded the scholarship, Arnold will receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, and will be granted special opportunities for internships and employment within the federal government.

One defining trait of a Truman Scholar is dedication to service. For Arnold, public service is a natural extension to her studies. During her time at Lewis & Clark, she has volunteered as a garden educator at Abernethy Elementary School in Portland, cofounded Fertile Earth Permaculture (a community-based initiative to develop sustainable agricultural ecosystems), worked as a Lewis & Clark psychology collaborative researcher, and interned with the City Repair Project (an organization that provides resources and opportunities to ecologically-oriented projects).

“I think that the national Truman selection committee was likely impressed by the same qualities in Riley that impressed those who selected her as a nominee here at L&C: her steadfast commitment to learning and serving others, both here and in the Portland community.”Maureen ReedCollege Advisor and Fellowships Advisor

“Ultimately, public service has helped me understand purpose behind the academic research we do at L&C, and how to apply years of rigorous learning to meaningful solutions,” she says. “For example, my current capstone project for community psychology focuses on the problem of urban food insecurity and its many solutions. With the help of groups such as City Repair, I have been able to apply ideas and theoretical concepts from class to real life experiences.”

Upon graduating, she plans to earn a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and will embark on a career developing urban designs that reconnect citizens with nature.

“Like other Lewis & Clark students, Riley wants to change the world for the better,” says Lewis & Clark’s College and Fellowships Advisor Maureen Reed. “I think that the national Truman selection committee was likely impressed by the same qualities in Riley that impressed those who selected her as a nominee here at L&C: her steadfast commitment to learning and serving others, both here and in the Portland community.”

The Truman Foundation takes care to note that successful candidates demonstrate potential to be change agents in their chosen fields. In Arnold’s words, “A change agent listens to, not just hears, the people they serve and strives above all else to meet the needs and desires of their people. Perhaps my favorite feature of a change maker is humility: someone willing to admit that their ideas can always be revised and improved upon, someone who listens more than they speak, and someone willing to let go of conquest and surrender to the ideas of others.”

Since the scholarship’s inception, Lewis & Clark has produced 11 Truman Scholars, the latest being Joyce Iwashita BA ’15, who earned her degree in economics. The list of 2018 Truman scholars will be announced April 20.

Psychology Department

Academic Awards & Fellowships

This story was written by Scout Brobst BA ’20.

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