Truman Scholarship WinnerGAMBIER, Ohio (August 4, 2010)
Outstanding scholarship is only part of her Kenyon story. Academic achievement coupled with her commitment to making a difference helped Shoshana Shapiro-Baruch '11 win a coveted Truman Scholarship for students planning to enter public-service careers. "My goal is to help individuals make positive changes in their lives," said Shapiro-Baruch.
The political science major was one of just sixty students to be named a 2010 Truman Scholar this spring, selected from a pool of 576 candidates from 245 college and universities. "I feel very privileged to be part of such a passionate, creative, and inspiring group," she said.
The scholarship, established by Congress in 1975, provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.
Shapiro-Baruch plans to enroll in law school and work as a housing counselor or legal aid attorney, with a focus on ending predatory lending practices in low-income communities. Her longer-term aspiration is to influence public policy as a legislative aide or Congressional committee counsel.
During internships at the American Youth Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., and the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project in New York City, Shapiro-Baruch helped organize information sessions for homeowners in foreclosure, shot and produced a TV show on economic justice issues in New York City, and helped plan a field trip for education policymakers to learn about rural education issues. She has completed independent research on the effects of subprime lending on communities and produced a 90-page analysis of the foreclosure crisis. "I learned that buying a house is so much more than a simple investment for most families because it determines where your children go to school, what jobs you can get, and even simple things like how safe you feel walking home at night," she said. "I think one of the most interesting things to learn about is the intersections of different policy issues that affect communities, and how they can influence each other." This summer she has gained further real-world experience in an internship at the Office of Consumer Protection of the U.S. Department of Treasury in Washington, where she worked on historic financial reform legislation.
Shapiro-Baruch's commitment to service shapes her life at Kenyon and in the surrounding area. In addition to tutoring adult GED students in Washington, she has served as Community Service Chair for the Archon Society, Kenyon's largest community service organization. As an intern for the Kenyon Review, Shapiro-Baruch supervised the Patricia Grodd Poetry prize for Young Writers. Moreover, she has spent the past three years mentoring a Mount Vernon, Ohio, teenager through The Children's Connection, a Big Brothers/Big Sisters program in Knox County.
She and her Little Sister enjoy watching horror movies, going to rock concerts and visiting the Columbus Zoo. "I believe having positive role models is very important for teenagers, and college students are at a perfect age to be 'bigs' because we remember pretty well what it feels like to be 16," she said.