Srivastava named Truman Scholarship Award finalist

UAB Honors College student will interview in early March for the prestigious Truman Scholarship.

Unknown 1Renuka SrivastavaRenuka Srivastava, a University of Alabama at Birmingham junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and in the Honors College, has been named a Truman Scholarship finalist.

The Truman Scholarship is awarded through the Truman Foundation, which was founded in memory of President Harry S. Truman. The scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students who seek a premier graduate fellowship in the United States and would like to pursue a career as a public service leader.

Students must be “change agents,” involved in political activities, government internships and community service.

“I first heard of the scholarship from Dr. Mike Sloane after spending a semester working on a grassroots campaign for Senator Doug Jones,” said Srivastava, a Department of Political Science and Public Administration student. “After speaking with Dr. Sloane and Dr. Ashley Kuntz, I began working on my application and eventually was nominated by UAB to apply to Truman. Now, I am honored to have been selected as a finalist by the Truman Foundation.”

“Action-oriented and unflappable, Renuka is a major agent of change at UAB and in the Greater Birmingham community,” said Michael Sloane, Ph.D., director of the Unviersity Honors Program and associate professor for the UAB Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Her genuine passion for social justice energizes her political activism that has yielded concrete results. Her organizational skills were front and center in Doug Jones’ senatorial campaign, during which she organized phone banks, voter registration drives and transportation to the polls on Election Day, and had Doug Jones speak here at the Spencer Honors House right before the election.”

“I fondly remember her rallying her fellow students to attend a talk by Deval Patrick, two-time governor of Massachusetts, who was in town briefly to stump for Doug Jones. Renuka worked her magic to have him talk at the Spencer Honors House, and even though UAB was closed for weather-related reasons, a nice crowd of UAB undergraduates got to enjoy a memorable and deep discussion about real issues facing the country.”

Srivastava says the UAB Honors College committed its time and resources to her by providing critical feedback needed to earn the scholarship finalist placement.

“They are now assisting me with interview preparation as well,” Srivastava said. “The University Honors Program has supported me with this application process, and continuously ensured that I had the opportunity to pursue my passions over the past three years. Without the support of the University Honors Program, I would not have had the chance to be a competitive applicant for Truman.”

“Renuka excels in the classroom, and she is a devoted public servant and results-oriented leader,” said Ashley Kuntz, Ph.D., director of Honors Administration, Strategic Initiatives, and Fellowships and assistant professor in the Honors College. “We were proud to send her forward as an institutional nominee for the Truman Scholarship, and we are thrilled the Truman Committee will have the opportunity to experience Renuka’s sincerity, compassion and determination firsthand.”

The application process has given Srivastava a better idea of what she aspires to do following the completion of her undergraduate degree.

“I would like to attend law school, work for a firm for a few years, and go back for an LLM in international and public affairs,” Srivastava said. “While working for a firm, I plan on working as many pro bono cases as I can. I hope to ultimately represent the underserved community, specifically women, to ensure that people who have had their free will and basic human rights stripped from them attain justice.” 

Srivastava will interview for the Truman Scholarship on Friday, March 8, in Atlanta, Georgia.