Truman Scholar Surprise
Two CSU undergraduates named Truman Scholars
video by Ashley Manweiler
story by Joe Giordano
published April 16, 2020
For the third time in five years, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is recognizing undergraduates from Colorado State University as Truman Scholars, a highly competitive graduate fellowship program for students pursuing public service careers.
CSU students Sarah Greichen and Brianne Lauro are the recipients of the prestigious 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.
Surrounded by family members, Greichen, a junior in College of Business, and Lauro, a junior in the Warner College of Natural Resources, were informed of the honor April 13 via video conferencing.
College of Business Dean Beth Walker and Warner College of Natural Resources Dean John P. Hayes were each hosting a video call with their students, when CSU President Joyce McConnell joined the call and broke the good news.
“We are immensely proud of Brianne and Sarah for their tremendous accomplishments, and we are excited to see where their education and experiences will take them,” McConnell said. “Across our campus community, brilliant people are engaging in learning and discovery and we are so fortunate to have Sarah and Brianne sharing their brilliance with our students and faculty.”
Greichen and Lauro follow Elizabeth Hale (2016) and Francis Commerçon and Kiloaulani Kaawa-Gonzales (2017) as Truman Scholars from CSU. Ilana Vargas, a junior from the Warner College of Natural Resources, was a finalist in this year’s competition.
2020 CSU Truman Scholars
College of Business
Honors Program Student
Major: Business Administration
Hometown: Centennial, Colorado
As the founder of the nonprofit Score A Friend, Sarah Greichen has been working since middle school to help people with disabilities break down the barriers that restrict them from participating in society on an equal basis with others.
Greichen created the organization eight years ago to spread awareness about ability inclusion after witnessing how her twin brother, who has an autism spectrum disorder, was placed in segregated classes.
For her, it was fitting that she was surrounded by her family when she got the Truman Scholarship news.
“It was probably the best way it could have happened because I had everyone I love around me,” she said. “It was so much fun.”
Greichen, who plans to continue to grow her nonprofit and pursue a law/MBA degree focusing on public policy in disability law as well as innovation and public administration, said being a Truman Scholar gives her the resources to make a greater impact.
“Being a Truman Scholar will help me obtain my goals and continue to grow Score A Friend and my career in law and public policy,” she said. “I’m just so honored; I’m still in shock; and I can’t wait to see where this goes.”
Warner College of Natural Resources
Major: Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
Hometown: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Brianne Lauro has been a standout student in the Warner College of Natural Resources.
Lauro has been listed on the Dean’s list four out of five times in her academic career and has also won the college’s R.S. Knaub Science Award for sustainability innovation. Currently, she is a congressional intern at U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse’s district office in Fort Collins and a research assistant for a National Science Foundation study on Indigenous data stewardship led by CSU faculty member Dominique David-Chavez.
When she heard the news that she was a Truman Scholar, she said it validated what she knew in her heart all along: That pursuing a degree in natural resources was the right choice for her.
“This award is not only going to impact me and my future aspirations but most importantly, the generations that come after me — and for that, I thank God and the Truman Foundation for granting me this honor.”
In the Warner College of Natural Resources, Lauro has been a leading voice, becoming an advocate for women and people of color in one of the college’s largest student clubs, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
Lauro plans to study and pursue a career in Hawaii connected to public policy, land and natural resources, and Indigenous people.
“I’m so grateful that I can be a voice for the people here and also a source of hope and encouragement, especially for our youth,” Lauro said. “They need to know that they are gifted and talented, that their knowledge is valuable, and that they too are capable of enacting positive change within our communities.”
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.
Only 50 to 60 undergraduates — approximately one from each state — receive a Truman Scholarship. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation this year received 773 applications from 315 colleges and universities.
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.