Who Me?... A Truman Scholar?

By Larrisa Alire, Fellow Class of 2016
Coe College

Recently I was named a 2019 Truman Scholar. The Truman Scholarship Foundation awards approximately 60 undergraduate students across the country who have demonstrated an exceptional dedication to public service a $30,000 scholarship that can be applied toward graduate school. The application process was overwhelming, and required not only three letters of recommendation and a college nomination letter, but also seven essays detailing my leadership experience, my commitment to public service, a problem statement, a policy proposal that addresses the problem statement, and an overview of my plans for post-graduation and graduate school. After being named a finalist, I flew to Kansas City, where I went through an intensive 20-minute panel interview and eagerly waited to hear back.

None of this would have been possible without the unconditional support and guidance I received from the Law School … Yes We Can (“LSYWC”) community from application to selection. While interning for Judge Ramirez, a Board member of LSYWC, this last summer, I told him that I wanted to apply for the Truman scholarship, but was intimidated by the application process. He encouraged me to apply and began helping me draft policy proposal ideas and outlines for my essays. After several rounds of drafts and cutting it close to the November deadline for nomination, I remember calling my team of mentors stressed and anxious, wanting to give up. My mentors Halleh and Lindsey were pivotal in encouraging me to pick myself back up and keep going. 

In February, I found out that I was a finalist for the Truman scholarship. The LSYWC community immediately jumped into action to help me prepare for my final interview. First, my mentor Theresa arranged for me to meet with a speaking coach over spring break to prepare for my Truman interview. I also met with Judge Arguello, who offered encouraging words of advice and wisdom. Judge Arguello then introduced me to her former law clerk, a Truman scholarship finalist, who shared interview tips with me. Judge Arguello and Lindsey connected me to a past Truman Scholar, Hetal Doshi, who met with me and discussed what I should expect from the panel interview and how to navigate tough questions.  Finally, when my interview finally came, each of my mentors texted me words of encouragement and reminded me that they believed in my ability to become a Truman Scholar.  

Now that I’ve had time for reflection, I don’t believe that I would have been able to receive the prestigious Truman scholarship without the support of Law School … Yes We Can. I am grateful for the community that has supported me as a member of Law School … Yes We Can Fellow. I strive not only to make the LSYWC community proud of me, but to eventually give back to the future generations of LSYWC fellows.