On April 15, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced the names of 62 college students from 55 U.S. colleges and universities who have been selected as 2020 Truman Scholars. We are proud to announce that Kristen Busch and Rodrigo Estrada are award recipients. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States. Each new Truman Scholar receives 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. The University of Chicago is one of just seven institutions with two 2020 Truman Scholars.
Kristen is a joint BA/MA student with a background in disability, economic, and tech justice. She is currently majoring in economics and international relations, with a specialization in political economy. On campus, she is the co-president of a disability activism student group, a Stamps Scholar, deaf studies research assistant, and member of various advisory boards within student government and the Office of the Provost. She has worked at both the state and federal level in public policy, including internships for the Illinois House Majority Leader, Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Washington office, the United States Department of the Interior, State Department, Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign in Iowa, and Facebook’s public policy team. Her work experiences have motivated her to pursue a JD/MPP with a focus on disability policy. Currently, she approaches disability justice from an economic and tech framework through her special education and tech-focused nonprofit, which she co-founded with two other University of Chicago students. She plans to delve into the intersection of these fields in her career in public service.
Rodrigo is currently pursuing a joint BA/MA in economics and international relations, focusing on international political economy and development. Proudly claiming the US-Mexico border as home, Rodrigo is passionate about inclusive regional development. Growing up five miles from the Rio Grande in the poorest town in Texas, he witnessed firsthand the stranglehold of poverty and systemic underdevelopment suffocating his community. In response, Rodrigo joined the American Red Cross’ El Paso chapter as a high school sophomore. Five years later, he continues turning his compassion into action as a Lead Volunteer in International Services. He has mobilized the power of volunteers to reconnect asylum seekers recently released from detention centers with loved ones around the country. To date, he and his team have helped over 1,000 asylum seekers. He also serves on the American Red Cross’ National Youth Council, on which he represents youth volunteers and advises national leadership on policies and programs concerning youth engagement. His intergovernmental experiences include interning for the White House Domestic Policy Council, in Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Office, and most recently, in the El Paso County Judge’s Office, where he pushed for innovative changes focused on cooperative economic development. Rodrigo gives all the credit to anything he has accomplished to Jesus Christ. As a proud fronterizo (border resident), he aspires to be an advocate for underserved border communities.
Read more about the 2020 Truman scholars at https://www.truman.gov/whats-new/2020-truman-scholars