University of New Mexico student Ryan Roco was one of 59 scholars awarded the 2014 Truman Scholarship for graduate study announced today by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Roco, a junior majoring in political science with a minor in Asian studies, returned to school last summer after six years of first-hand experience in human rights advocacy. As a photojournalist, he documented violence against the civilians in Myanmar. 

His research on “Crimes In Northern Burma” has been recognized in multiple internationally issued human rights reports including The New York Times. His photographs and videos have been featured by Associated Press, Reuters, the Guardian and PBS News Hour.

Roco’s goal has been to tell the stories of these places through his photo and video-graphic work. Now he wants to take an active role in the story, to change the outcome, rather than simply report it.

Roco is taking a graduate-level course this semester and was invited to present his work to a graduate-level class. He plans to pursue a Juris Doctor and a doctoral degree in Political Science, and continue his career in human rights advocacy.

Competition for the Truman Scholarship is extremely rigorous. This year, the Truman Scholarship Foundation received 655 applications and selected only 59 scholars who are pursuing a career in public service. Each Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000, along with a number of other benefits and opportunities, in support of graduate studies.

The Foundation, established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to our 33rd President, awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the Foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury.

Chaired by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, the Truman Scholarship Foundation has helped support nearly 3,000 scholars making a difference in all corners of the globe.