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jessica lau
Jessica Lau

A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student has been selected as one of 58 exceptional college students across the U.S. to be named a 2022 Truman Scholar by the Truman Foundation. Jessica Lau, a double major in psychology and human development and family studies with minors in peace studies and communicology, is a recipient of the highly-competitive Truman Scholarship, the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States.

Truman Scholars demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector, and academic excellence. Lau was selected from 705 candidates nominated by 275 colleges and universities. She will receive up to $30,000 in funding for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government.

“It is an amazing honor to represent Hawaiʻi as a Truman Scholar,” said Lau. “UH Mānoa has given me so many opportunities to grow and learn how I can better serve my community. Thanks to the support of many, I will continue my pursuits with hopeful determination to address the emotional and behavioral needs of our keiki.”

UH Mānoa has given me so many opportunities to grow and learn how I can better serve my community.
–Jessica Lau

Lau’s background in the social sciences, passion for social-emotional wellbeing and awareness of cultural dissonance in youth have led her to pursue a career in education, research and advocacy for diverse and inclusive settings. She currently teaches local educators about a multi-tiered system of support that helps them address the academic, behavioral and social needs of all students. She researches the integrity and validity of this model to use schoolwide data to connect students at the first sign of concern to the support they need to succeed.

Upon earning her BA and MEd in psychology and educational psychology through the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Pathways, Lau plans to teach at local schools to share evidence-based practices. She will then pursue her PhD in educational policy and evaluation at Arizona State University to inform future policy decisions that enable school success.

“We have confidence that these 58 new Trumans will meet their generation’s challenges together,” said Terry Babcock-Lumish, executive secretary of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation and a 1996 Truman Scholar from Pennsylvania. “As we pay tribute to the Truman Foundation’s president for over twenty years, Secretary Madeleine Albright, it is our responsibility to carry on her work as a tireless champion of democracy, human rights and public service…the 2022 Truman Scholars reflect our country as innovative, purposeful, patriotic problem-solvers, never shying away from a challenge.”

This recognition is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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