CSU students Christian Dykson (left), Aidan Lyde and Sam Moccia are finalists for the prestigious Truman Scholarship.
Three Colorado State University undergraduates are finalists for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a highly competitive graduate fellowship program for students pursuing careers in government and public service.
CSU juniors Christian Dykson, Aidan Lyde and Sam Moccia are in the running for the honor, which includes a $30,000 scholarship to a graduate school of their choice as well as a weeklong leadership training session with other winners and an internship opportunity in Washington, D.C.
Only 50 to 60 undergraduates — approximately one from each state — will receive a Truman Scholarship. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation’s Finalist Selection Committee received 705 applications from 275 colleges and universities this year, selecting students from 126 institutions.
Finalists will interview virtually with the foundation’s regional review panels between March 1 and April 4. The regional review panel for the Denver region will take place on March 11. All three CSU students will interview that day.
According to The Institute for Learning and Teaching’s Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising, 17 CSU students have been named finalists since 2015, five of whom were named scholars.
“We would like to congratulate Christian, Aidan and Sam for accomplishing this honor of being selected as a finalist for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Mary Pedersen. “It is an extraordinary honor in and of itself to be named a finalist and it is an honor they will carry forward with them in life. As you read about what they have already accomplished and their goals for the future, each one of them is truly inspiring. The entire Ram community will be with them in spirit and rooting for them on March 11 during their interviews.”
2022 CSU Truman Scholar finalists
College of Liberal Arts
Christian Dykson — majoring in political science, minoring in Spanish and natural resource economics — serves as president of the student body at CSU. He is also a member of the CSU Honors Program, maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
Dykson, who is from Fort Collins, intends to pursue a J.D. in environmental law at Georgetown University, with an emphasis on environmental protection, climate change mitigation and environmental justice. He seeks to “embolden the voices of all people and defend those experiencing the greatest environmental inequities,” while “adapting archaic governance systems to reciprocate the urgency, passion and agency showcased by rising generations.”
In 2019, he was named an Ashoka Young Changemaker and Fort Collins Human Relations Award recipient for his work as founder of the Custodian Service Initiative, transforming school culture by building relationships, improving attitudes toward littering, increasing student ownership, and fostering respect for custodial staff. Christian envisions an environment of love, dignity and respect where every person is truly known and celebrated.
“As the son and grandson of South African immigrants, my story is their legacy,” Dykson said. “I am the result of their endless love, courage, guidance and wisdom throughout my journey.”
College of Liberal Arts
Aidan Lyde is majoring in political science, with a concentration in environmental politics and policy, as well as international studies. He also is a member of the CSU Honors Program.
Lyde said he would like to pursue a career involving environmental climate and water policy issues. Throughout his college career, Lyde has engaged in climate activism, marching in the Global Climate Strike in Vancouver, Canada, in 2019.
Lyde, who is from Thornton, Colorado, said being named a Truman Scholar Finalist is an honor and a testament to his hard work as a student and his commitment to CSU’s Zero Waste Team, a student-led organization dedicated to reducing waste on campus.
In addition, he is part of the U.S. Biosphere Network Youth Board, which is the U.S.-based subsidiary of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program. There are 727 UN-recognized Biosphere Regions in the world, of which the U.S. has 28. He also was an intern in 2021 for the U.S. Department of the Interior researching water-related challenges in the Colorado River Basin.
“Being named a finalist validates the work that I’ve accomplished so far at CSU, and it exemplifies all the work that I will do in the future,” Lyde said. “I’m very excited about this opportunity.”
“We’re very proud of Christian’s and Aidan’s accomplishment. Being selected as a Truman Scholar finalist is a testament to these students’ hard work and commitment to their education, to public service and to leadership. We wish them the best and look forward to seeing what’s next for both of them.”
— Ben Withers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts
College of Agricultural Sciences
Sam Moccia, who is majoring in environmental and natural resource economics, said he hopes to one day pursue a career in helping the U.S. transition to a greener economy with more focus on labor equity.
Moccia’s path to CSU and being named a Truman Scholar Finalist was difficult. In middle school, Moccia was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and spent the next four years in and out of doctors’ offices and hospitals. These long absences from school had a severe effect on his academic performance.
“Growing up, I dealt with a lot,” said Moccia, who is from Castle Rock, Colorado. “When I was dealing with my illness, I really felt like I couldn’t be a leader or work toward any of my goals. So, it’s really validating to now be a part of a group of students who have accomplished so much because for a long time, I wasn’t sure that I could contribute to the world.”
At CSU, Moccia serves as director of the Student Sustainability Center, the only fully student-run center on campus. His team recently launched the Patchwork Initiative, aimed at increasing awareness of clothing sustainability, reducing clothing consumption on campus and increasing access to clothing repair in the community.
“Sam’s actions and accomplishments are centered on making this world a better place by addressing the impacts of climate change with greener economies. Sam mobilizes others to action and displays the best in servant leadership. Being recognized as a Truman Scholar finalist is testament to Sam’s commitment and demonstrated excellence in public service.”
— James Pritchett, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences>
About the Truman Scholarship
The Truman Scholarship is the country’s premier graduate fellowship for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. The program is administered by the Truman Foundation, a living memorial to the nation’s 33rd president created by Congress in 1975.
There have been 3,322 Truman Scholars selected since the first awards in 1977. Prominent Truman Scholars include U.S. Senator Chris Coons (1983), Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (1987) and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice (1984).
Sophomores interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship should contact Mary Swanson, program director of the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising, at firstname.lastname@example.org.