For the fourth consecutive year, a UNM Honors College student was selected as a Truman Scholar finalist. Abrianna Morales, a psychology and criminology student, is the latest Lobo to be recognized.
Every year, hundreds of students are nominated by their institutions based on their records of leadership, public service and academic achievement. Morales’ nomination was selected and announced as a finalist by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation earlier today. She is one of 189 Truman Scholar finalists selected from this year’s pool of 705 nominations representing 275 institutions.
“The Truman scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards available for the UNM students,” explained Kiyoko Simmons, director of the Center for Academic Excellence & Leadership Development at UNM Honors College. “The UNM selection committee nominates a handful of students who have an extensive record of public and community service, an outstanding leadership record, and a strong commitment to a career in public service. Abrianna exemplifies those values.”
After being sexually assaulted at the age of 15, Morales founded Sexual Assault Youth Support Network (SAYSN)–an organization devoted to supporting, empowering and connecting youth sexual assault survivors. Through her work with SAYSN, she’s had the opportunity to collaborate with the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) as a consultant for numerous projects, including a U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) grant to provide training and technical assistance to college campuses invested in preventing sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.
Morales is dedicated to bringing a strong academic foundation to victims’ services and policy reform. As a McNair Scholar, she is conducting her own research with mentors Jaymes Fairfax-Columbo and Lisa Broidy that focuses on stakeholders’ experiences of procedural justice in light of COVID-19-era changes to the courts.
Following the conclusion of her undergraduate studies, she intends to pursue a joint JD/PhD in forensic psychology/criminology. She plans to conduct research on the intersection of law, psychology and criminology as it pertains to victims of crime, for the purposes of advancing progressive criminal justice reform that furthers victims’ rights and experiences of justice within the legal system.
Regional Review Panels will look at the Truman Scholar finalist nominations later this spring and choose the 2022 Truman Scholars. Last year, UNM student Emma Hotz was selected as a 2021 Truman Scholar. Prior to Hotz, UNM alum Ryan Roco was named a Truman Scholar, in 2014. Lobos Joel Robinson and Brendon Gray were chosen as finalists in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
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.