Stephanie Kuzmack is the university’s second Truman Scholar.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. A federally funded scholarship granted to U.S. undergraduate students for demonstrated leadership potential, academic excellence and a commitment to public service, the Truman Scholarship is the most highly competitive American fellowship to support graduate education and leadership development.
Out of 773 applicants, representing 316 colleges and universities, Kuzmack, a sociology major from Española, New Mexico, was one of only 62 students selected for the prestigious scholarship.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to compete for such a prestigious scholarship," Kuzmack said. "I want to thank my mentors, specifically Michael San Francisco and Wendoli Flores, for supporting me through the lengthy application process and for encouraging and believing in me all those times I doubted myself. Texas Tech provided me with many avenues to volunteer my services that are recognized through this scholarship. I am humbled and elated to be a part of the 2020 Truman Scholars and to represent Texas Tech and my home state of New Mexico in a positive light."
In summer 2019, Kuzmack interned in the office of U.S. Rep. Al Green, where she enjoyed meeting esteemed politicians and officials including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
At Texas Tech, Kuzmack is an Honors student who serves as a mentor for the Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program and the First-Year Experience Program. Through the Honors Grace Campus Initiative, she is working to start an organization for students to meet the needs of homeless people living at Grace Campus.
Kuzmack also serves in the Student Government Association as a senator for the College of Arts & Sciences and a member of the Cultural Diversity committee. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society, as well as Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Delta Pi, the national collegiate Hispanic honor society. She volunteers for Literacy Lubbock and, while studying abroad in Spain in spring 2019, she volunteered to teach English at a local elementary school. She was a member of the Freshman Leadership Association during her first year at Texas Tech.
After graduating with her bachelor's degree in May, Kuzmack plans to attend graduate school in sociology at Texas Tech and then continue into law school. She plans to become a progressive prosecutor – one who focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment – while continuing to pursue her interests in social work and teaching agencies.
"This is a wonderful achievement in Stephanie's academic career and is reflected in the campus leadership opportunities of which she's taken advantage," said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech president. "On behalf of the Texas Tech University community, I want to congratulate Stephanie on this outstanding recognition. She is a great example of 'From Here, It's Possible.'"
Kuzmack is only the second Texas Tech student to be named a Truman Scholar. The first was Joy McGlaun in 2001. After working in staff positions in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, McGlaun served as director of health and labor policy for The Boeing Company; health policy adviser for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign; and a consultant for Rockingstone Group, a boutique public policy firm serving health care clients. Since 2017, she has been the senior director of government affairs for CVS Health.
"Being only the second student in Texas Tech history to earn a Truman Scholarship, it is indeed an honor for Stephanie to have attained this award," said Flores, director of Prestigious External Student Awards, formerly known as National & International Scholarships & Fellowships. "The Truman Scholarship is highly competitive, and it is not only necessary to produce a compelling application, but finalists must make a memorable impression during the selection interviews. I believe her success can be attributed to her genuine demeanor and sense of humility, along with her determination to make a difference as a public servant. I could not be prouder of her success, and I look forward to watching Stephanie pursue her dreams and becoming the change agent she longs to be in our society."
About the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation
The Truman Foundation is the nation's official living memorial to the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, and The Presidential Memorial to Public Service. Truman did not want a brick-and-mortar monument. Instead, he encouraged a living memorial that would give life to the values of service that animated his career. In that spirit, the Truman Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to nurture and support future generations who answer the call to public service leadership. The hallmark of the foundation's work is the Truman Scholarship.