Every year, hundreds of students are nominated by their institutions for the Truman Scholarship based on their records of leadership, public service and academic achievement. Two University of New Mexico nominees, Lizbeth Olivarez and Andrew Schumann, were selected and announced as finalists by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation today. The pair are two of 189 Truman Scholar finalists selected from this year’s pool of 705 nominations representing 275 institutions.

Truman Scholars demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector and academic excellence. Each Truman Scholar receives funding for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government. 

Olivarez, a junior from Hatch, New Mexico, is a McNair scholar, majoring in population health. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in public health and a career as a public health practitioner focusing on the rural communities in New Mexico. Olivarez is a member and mentor of UNM’s College Assistance Migrant Program, a president of Student Health and Leadership Council, and an Outreach Health Assistant at UNM Student Health and Counseling. Olivarez is also a recipient of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Albuquerque Community Foundation scholarships, and is a NASPA Certified Peer Educator.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be selected as a Truman Finalist,” Olivarez said. “This process has given me the opportunity to fully display my passions, academic and career pursuits, and the story behind my ambitions. I would not have made it to this stage without the support of my family and the chosen family I cultivated while attending UNM. I am grateful for my biggest advocates and communities that have fostered resiliency along my journey as a first-generation student coming from rural New Mexico. As a Truman Finalist, I will continue to advocate for health equity by highlighting communities’ assets while remaining connected to my roots.”

Schumann, a senior UNM Honors College student, is majoring in history and political science. He started at UNM in 2020 after receiving six associate degrees from CNM during his high school tenure. Schumann will start the master’s program in History at UNM this fall. Schumann is interested in the historical intersection of social justice causes and worker's rights movements and hopes to pursue a J.D. or Ph.D. program. Schumann received the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, a two-year research program for future Ph.D. students in humanities fields. 

"It is truly an honor to be selected as a Truman finalist! I'd first like to thank my mentors, Dr. Jason Scott Smith and Dr. David Weiss, for facilitating my intellectual growth and always encouraging me to reach higher,” Schumann said. “I would also like to shout out the Fred Harris Congressional Internship and the New Mexico State Legislative Internship, both programs that enabled me to work directly with elected leaders. Finally, I'd like to stress that, much like President Truman, I do not hail from a wealthy or well-connected family. I hope my selection as a finalist proves that students can still pursue a career in public service despite their socioeconomic struggles. I look forward to representing my fellow Lobos next month during the regional interview in Phoenix."

Truman Foundation Regional Review Panels will interview the Truman finalists later this spring and choose the 2023 Truman Scholars. Last year, UNM student Abrianna Morales was selected as a 2022 Truman Scholar. UNM alumnus Emma Hotz was also named a Truman Scholar in 2021. UNM nomination of the Truman Scholarship has been coordinated by the Center for Academic Excellence & Leadership Development under the Honors College.