Junior Wins Prestigious Truman Scholarship
By Amber Khan ’14, Staff Writer
Nathan Nash ’12 is one of 60 students nationwide who were recently named 2011 Truman Scholars. The Truman Scholarship is aimed at college juniors who are seeking a career in public service.

According to the Harry S. Truman Scholarship foundation, these students are elected “on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of ‘making a difference.’” Fellowship Coordinator Denise Gagnon finds that this scholarship is very unique.

“The Truman Scholarship provides awardees with funding for graduate school, but they also provide scholars with resources that put them in touch with people working in the applicant’s field of study,” Gagnon said.

In this past year, there were 602 applicants hailing from 264 colleges and universities who applied for the Truman Scholarship. Since its establishment in 1975, the foundation has recognized 2,790 Truman Scholars.

Upon first hearing he had won the scholarship, Nathan Nash said he “was completely floored.”

“I feel really humbled, gratified and indebted to all of the people who helped me,” Nash said.

Nash hopes that as a Truman Scholar he will be able to take the opportunities offered by the program to pursue a career in environmental and natural resource policy. Nash, originally from Kentucky, hopes to return to his home state and address the environmental concerns associated with coal mining in Appalachia. Nash hopes to answer his own question: “At what point do coal mining’s adverse environmental effects outweigh its economic benefits?” He hopes to shape policy in this area to reduce the environmental impact from coal mining while still providing the best quality of life to people in the area.

Nash, a biology and political science double major, said that his interest in both the sciences and humanities are united in environmental policy. He is committed to making changes in environmental policy.

“We need energy and food resources but we also need to protect our environment; it’s a difficult balance.”

Gagnon worked with Nash on his application for the Truman Scholarship. She hopes that he will use this scholarship to good advantage. She sees him continuing his studies at a program like Stanford’s joint degree in law and public policy.

“With his strong science background, he will be an effective legal advisor writing legislation and policies surrounding the nation’s natural resources,” Gagnon said.

Nash described the application process for the Truman Scholarship as an introspective one and cites the aid he received from the Fellowship office and faculty.

“I had a lot of help and support at Amherst and beyond. I can’t even believe this is happening,” he said. “I just hope I can make the most of this incredible opportunity and everyone’s hard work on my behalf.”

Nash will join the other Truman Scholars at the Truman Library this May for an awards ceremony and next summer for a leadership institute.

Issue 22, Submitted 2011-04-13 04:22:39