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Improving Way U.S. Treats Refugees Goal of Truman Scholarship Winner

April 11, 2019 Mena Mohamed (SFS’20), who hopes to one day help improve America’s refugee system, is one of 62 undergraduates selected from 199 finalists today as 2019 Truman Scholars. The finalists were selected from 840 candidates nominated by 346 U.S. colleges and universities. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States. Winners receive $30,000 toward up to three years of graduate education leading to a public service career and benefit from a network of other scholars through the Truman Scholars Association.

Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia

Major: Science, technology, and international affairs; Certificate of Arab Studies

Intended Graduate Degree: Master's degree in international affairs and a master's degree in urban planning

Career Goals: After getting her master’s degree, Mohamed sees herself working “within the U.S. refugee system as a crucial stepping stone to later work in global governance.” She hopes to one day oversee the implementation of U.S. refugee policy as a program officer in the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration or in the Refugee Services Division of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

In the future, she also hopes to design more flexible urban environments that can mitigate migration movements precipitated by climate change and global conflict through multilateral organizations such as 100 Resilient Cities or UN-Habitat.

Why Georgetown?

“I chose to come to Georgetown for all the resources that the School of Foreign Service offered for students with multidisciplinary interests,” Mohamed says. “I also love being in DC with all the opportunities it has provided through internships and research, and have benefited immensely from being surrounded by communities committed to social change through my time here.”

Campus and community activities: Advocacy and policy intern, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA; BSFS Scholar, Georgetown Center for Contemporary Arab Studies; student worker, Georgetown Office of the President; member, Georgetown Muslim Students Association; member, Georgetown Scholars Program; student leader, D.C. Impact Group - Georgetown Social Enterprise Initiative 

Recognitions: Patrick Healy Fellow; Paul Pelosi Scholar; John Carroll Fellow; Campus Ministry Scholarship

Favorite Spot on Campus:

“Copley Lawn is a great place to have lunch and relax when the weather is nice,” she says.

A Professor’s View:

“Mena is an extremely talented young scholar who can take a task and run with it, find creative solutions to a range of challenges and always produces excellent work,” says Fida Adely, an associate professor of Arab studies. “She will surely go on to do great things and is most deserving of the Truman scholarship.”

Summer Plans: Mohamed intends to attend the Junior Summer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University Heinz School as a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) fellow. She will take courses with 20 other fellows to prepare for a career in public service.

“I am excited to learn more about critical issues in domestic and international policy with my cohort of other PPIA fellows,” she says. “I hope to strengthen my goals in public service and learn more about how to be a better advocate for change within city and federal government.”

For more information about the Truman Scholarship and other fellowship opportunities, please visit the Georgetown Office of Fellowships, Awards, and Resources at gofar.georgetown.edu or email gufa@georgetown.edu.