Student Named University’s 25th Truman Scholar
March 27, 2009 – Sebastian Johnson (C’10) became Georgetown’s 25th Truman Scholar this week when he was named among the 60 students nationwide to receive this year’s prestigious scholarship.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation provides up to $30,000 in funding to college juniors hoping to pursue graduate degrees in public service fields. Scholars are chosen by 17 independent selection panels on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of ‘making a difference.’
“I congratulate Sebastian on this prestigious award,” said Chester Gillis, interim Georgetown College dean. “His commitment to addressing a range of issues important to urban development is timely and relevant to current public policy debates. Sebastian is an exceptional member of the Georgetown community, and I am pleased his research will be supported with this scholarship.”
Johnson, a political economy major from Takoma Park, Md., is studying at the London School of Economics this semester, and he plans to use his Truman scholarship to study public policy and urban planning. He hopes to eventually work for local government in Washington, focusing on the complex issues of gentrification.
His interest in urban planning comes from his personal experiences. As a high school student, Johnson served as the student member of the Montgomery County Board of Education -- advocating for immigrant students, improving communications with students through a television talk show on the campus cable channel and passing a new policy to allow middle school students to carry cell phones on campus.
“Throughout my life I have been lucky to live in a community with excellent schools, where I had challenging coursework and great teachers and where there existed a strong tradition of student involvement in the education process,” Johnson wrote in his Truman application. “Sadly, the norm across our country is the opposite. After my time on the school board, I decided that making the opportunities given to me a reality for all students would be a lifelong commitment.”
At Georgetown, Johnson has also served in the Georgetown University Student Association and regularly makes the Dean’s List. The winner of the McTighe Prize, which honors a Georgetown student who embodies the ideal student experience of learning and community involvement, Johnson addressed the incoming class at New Student Orientation Convocation this past fall.
This year’s Truman Scholars come from 55 U.S. colleges and universities, and won the scholarships from a pool of 601 candidates nominated by 298 colleges and universities.