Two students named Truman Scholarship finalists

Two CSU students, Kalyn Taylor and Jason Sydoriak, were recently named finalists for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a nationally competitive scholarship that recognizes students who demonstrate exceptional leadership potential and are committed to careers benefiting the public sector.

Taylor a leader in agriculturekalyn mind and body

Taylor, a soil and crop sciences major, is passionate about improving food security, land accessibility and local food markets. Last spring, she managed CSU’s Student Sustainable Farm during the 2014 growing season. As manager, she helped increase the farm’s volunteer base from 300 to 500, increased the farm’s productivity and profits, and worked to ensure its relocation once ground is broken for the new on-campus stadium.

“Between a full season internship at Native Hill Farm, my experience at CSU, and assisting with agricultural research at the USDA, I have come to understand profound and complex issues such as food security and land conservation,” said Taylor. “I believe that it is crucial that agricultural leaders, educators, and policy makers continue and enhance their efforts to increase diverse food production while protecting our most precious resources- land, air and water. I feel that my education will assist with the next agricultural revolution that is upon us.”

Upon graduation from CSU, Taylor intends to pursue a doctorate in international soils with a concentration in land conservation or security. Her dream is to attain a tenure-track position at a land-grant institution like CSU and work with local communities to improve food security.

Sydoriak a dedicated advocate for veteranscoloradoanphoto_Sydoriak

Sydoriak, a political science and economics major, is a former marine who has championed the cause of veterans’ affairs in Northern Colorado. He has served as the president of both Front Range Community’s Student Veterans Group and CSU’s Student Veterans Organization.

At FRCC, Sydoriak organized the first Veterans Resource Day Fair, a now annual event designed to commemorate fallen soldiers, celebrate veterans and increase awareness about campus resources. In 2014, he traveled to Washington D.C. with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to urge a bipartisan group of lawmakers to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act. The act passed in 2015.

“I have always had a deep devotion to helping others in any way possible,” said Sydoriak.” By creating opportunities for people to get more involved in their community, you empower them to take hold of their lives and help them define their own communities. In my opinion, there is no better way to help someone.”

Sydoriak is also a member of ASCSU, the chair of the city of Fort Collins’ Citizen Review Board and on the editorial board of the Coloradoan. He hopes to attend Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and run for public office.

What’s next?

Sydoriak and Taylor will travel to Denver on March 10 to interview with the Truman Foundation’s Regional Review Panel, the entity that selects award recipients. The winners receive $30,000 toward any graduate school of their choice, a week-long leadership training session with other winners from across the country, and have the option to complete an internship in Washington D.C. The annual competition chooses 50 to 65 students to be awarded the scholarship each year out of more than 700 applicants.

Sydoriak and Taylor are Colorado State University’s first finalists since 2008. Rising juniors interested in learning more about the Harry S. Truman Scholarship should contact Mary Swanson.