It’s three years in a row now that the University of New Mexico can proudly say it has a Truman Scholar.
For 2023, that incredibly prestigious honor goes to senior and Honors College student Andrew Schumann. Schumann was selected as just one out of 62 total Truman Scholars nationwide, out of 705 candidates from 275 colleges and universities.
Truman Scholars like Schumann must demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector, and academic excellence, and go through evaluation by 17 regional selection panels. He will get funding for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling, and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government.
If it’s not impressive enough that he is earning his bachelor’s in both history and political science in a fast three years, Schumann has also already acquired six associate degrees from the CNM while he was in high school.
"I am beyond humbled to be selected as a Truman Scholar. Over the course of my three years at UNM I have immersed myself in the historical study of our republic, and I’ve endeavored to actualize that understanding to every degree possible,” Schumann said.
That barely scratches the surface of his jam-packed UNM repertoire.
He has participated in three different internship programs provided by the UNM Department of Political Science – Fred Harris Congressional Internship Program, Mayor’s Select internship Program, and UNM Legislative internship Program. Andrew has also received the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, conducting research on Mexican American labor history under the guidance of History Professor Jason Scott Smith.
“It has been a great joy to work with Andrew as a mentor, helping him focus his intellect on the historical study of economic justice and racial equality. In the classroom, Andrew pushes his fellow students to raise their own level of engagement, and it has been great to see him—a student in History’s BA/MA program—rise to the challenge of studying history at the graduate level,” Smith said. “It’s not a bird or a plane: it’s Andrew Schumann. I’m thrilled he has been named a Truman Scholar and I can’t wait to see where his journey takes him next.”
“I'm thrilled, but not surprised, that Andrew has been named a Truman Scholar. He is, without question, the most talented undergraduate student I have ever taught or worked with,” Associate Chair for Department of Communication & Journalism and University College Director of Liberal Arts & Integrative Studies David Weiss said. “I first met Andrew in 2020, when he -- then still a freshman -- took my upper-level Political Communication course and finished with the highest grade in the class. I can't imagine that there is a more deserving awardee of this prestigious scholarship.”
Schumann has also held the titles of ASUNM Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs, Chief Justice of the Student Court and Student Fee Review Board and president of UNM's College Democrats and the state board for the NM College Democrats.
It’s no secret he has a strong passion for leading his peers.
“My peers maintain a great deal of political awareness and, more importantly, an almost overwhelming sense of urgency concerning the social and economic inequality that remains endemic to our society,” Schumann said.
This summer, Schumann will represent New Mexico as a delegate in the College Student Congress. He will also attend the Truman Scholars Leadership Week this summer at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. Eventually, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in History and a J.D. after receiving a master's degree from UNM.
“I sincerely hope that my selection as a Truman Scholar signals to all of my fellow Lobos, especially those who also hail from a low-income background, that they ought to be stubbornly optimistic in their pursuit of change,” he said. “All it really takes to be a public servant is a healthy dissatisfaction with the way things are and the resolve to change them for the better. I believe our generation has plenty of both."
Schumann was selected as finalist with Lizbeth Olivarez, as two of 189 Truman Scholar finalists. 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. Schumann joins a community of 3,504 Truman Scholars named since the first awards in 1977.
“Being a Truman Scholar is a significant accomplishment for any student, as it recognizes not only their outstanding academic and leadership achievements but also their commitment to making a meaningful impact in their communities and the world,” Director for the Honors College Center for Academic Excellence & Leadership Development Kiyoko Simmons said.
Established by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Harry S. Truman and national monument to public service, the Truman Scholarship is meant to support and inspire the next generation of public service leaders. When approached by a bipartisan group of admirers near the end of his life, 33rd President Truman embodied this commitment to the future of public service by asking Congress to create a living memorial devoted to this purpose, rather than a traditional monument. For more than 40 years, the Truman Foundation has fulfilled that mission.