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Ogden Junior Sarah Procopio named 2020 Truman Scholarship Finalist

Ogden Honors College and Manship School of Mass Communications student will compete for national fellowship

LSU nominated four students for the prestigious Truman Scholarship that recognizes college juniors committed to a career in public service: Miranda Campbell, Taylor Goss, Corey Ingersoll, and Sarah Procopio. Nominees are selected through an internal competition at LSU coordinated by the Ogden Honors College's Office of Fellowship Advising. Nominee Sarah Procopio was selected as a Truman finalist and will advance to interviews in the competition.

This year, the Truman Foundation received 773 applications from 316 colleges and universities. Students were chosen based on their records of leadership, public service and academic achievement. The Truman Finalist Selection Committee selected 190 candidates from 136 colleges and universities as Finalists. LSU’s finalist Sarah Procopio will be interviewed by the Foundation's Regional Review Panel in Austin, TX, on March 4. The 2020 Class of Truman Scholars will be announced by 9:00 pm EST on April 15th.  55 to 65 Truman Scholars are ultimately named.

All four of our nominees this year have exceptional records of service to LSU and the surrounding community,” said Drew Lamonica Arms, Director of Fellowship Advising.  “I’m so pleased the Foundation recognized Sarah’s commitment to the state of Louisiana. I am grateful for the LSU faculty and community members who will conduct two practice interviews with Sarah before her Truman interview on March 4.  We wish Sarah all the best; she is an outstanding ambassador for LSU and Louisiana.”

Truman Scholars are offered up to $30,000 for graduate study and are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of their graduate work. To be eligible to apply, students must indicate a desire to work in government, education, the nonprofit sector or the public interest sector, and must have a demonstrated commitment to service. In addition, the scholarship application process requires students to create a policy proposal that addresses a current public issue.

Sarah Procopio, of Baton Rouge, LA, is an Ogden Honors College junior studying mass communication. She is also a member of the Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Scholars Program. Procopio’s policy proposal focuses on lowering the price of prescription drugs. To achieve this goal, she proposes the establishment of the Office of State Drug Manufacturing, which will bring down prices, increase competition, and address shortages in the prescription drug market. The Office would incentivize states to start manufacturing pharmaceuticals and sell them at a fair price that covers manufacturing costs while ensuring patients have access to these drugs. “Almost 80% of Americans say the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable,” Procopio says. “If costs continue to rise at current rates, our medical advances will only be advances for the extremely wealthy as more vulnerable people will lose access to the drugs that they need to be healthy, productive citizens.”

As a Governor’s Fellow with the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Procopio was instrumental in implementing a policy to install opioid overdose prevention kits in residence halls at LSU. She has also started the Louisiana Youth Platform (LAYP) group, which creates a policy platform of priorities for young adults and presents itself to public officials. “I have had the opportunity to draft legislation, work in Congress, and be a Louisiana Governor’s Fellow. But the accomplishment that I am most proud of is starting the Louisiana Youth Platform group. I have seen first-hand how it has pushed students to take agency in the political process.”

“Sarah has always had ambitious and impressive policy goals,” said Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle.  “But her time in the Honors College and the Manship School has sharpened her thinking and made her a truly impressive Truman finalist.  She works hard and is a natural leader.  She will make a difference in whatever field she chooses to pursue.”

After graduation, Procopio hopes to pursue a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Michigan. She would then like to return to the Louisiana Department of Health to combat the rising rates of opioid addiction.

Miranda Campbell, of Monroe, LA, is an Ogden Honors College junior and LASAL Scholar studying political science, sociology, and religious studies in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Campbell’s policy proposed to make it easier for non-violent offenders to obtain parole by repealing Act 604. This act makes it more difficult for people to achieve parole status by requiring five of seven members of the Parole Board to vote during parole hearings. Under previous laws, only three members had to vote. 

“In the state of Louisiana, the rate of recidivism—committing a new crime post-release—for second-degree murders is 0%,” Campbell says. “Additionally, each prisoner housed in the Department of Corrections in Louisiana costs the taxpayers $16,251 annually. It is both fiscally and morally irresponsible to make it more difficult for people to regain their freedom at the expense of the taxpayers when they pose little to no risk to society.”

Campbell has served as the Director of Academic Affairs for the LSU Student Government and has a seat on the Library Dean’s Advisory Council. She has helped establish a library resource program that ensures that certain textbooks for high-enrollment courses are kept on reserve for students to check out at no cost. 

Taylor Goss, of Iowa, LA, is an Ogden Honors College junior studying music and entrepreneurship in the College of Music and Dramatic Arts and the E. J. Ourso College of Business. Goss’ policy proposal presents a solution to the gradual decline of access to arts programs in public schools. He takes inspiration from the National Endowment for the Arts and presents a national initiative to offer youth organizations a curriculum that emphasizes arts education. “Without sustained documentation of artistic culture, we lose its benefits of community development, tourism, and economic development,” Goss says. “Community organizations play a vital role in the conservation process, and without arts literacy, young community members are deprived of the skills necessary to preserve their culture’s artistic assets.”

Goss is the Director of Campus Affairs and Sustainability for the LSU Student Government and a LASAL Scholar. He is also the sound designer of the Coastal Voices project, which advocates for awareness of coastal wetlands loss.

Corey Ingersoll, of Baton Rouge, LA, is an Ogden Honors College junior studying political science and economics in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Ingersoll’s policy proposal addresses the lack of proper funding for Louisiana schools and how this leads to poverty. “Funding is at the heart of building a more equitable public schooling system and it cannot be achieved without serious progressive reform at both the state and federal levels,” Ingersoll says. “Therefore, school finance reform needs to be at the forefront of every conversation that revolves around education inequity.”

Ingersoll is a founding member of the LSU chapter of Global Water Brigades which is preparing to build a sustainable water system in Honduras. He has also participated in the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition (BRYC) where he became a designated mentor for a student navigating the college admission process.

 

The Ogden Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising has overseen LSU’s Truman selection process since 2005. 11 LSU students have received the Truman Scholarship. The Office of Fellowship Advising serves current students and recent graduates from all colleges at LSU as they apply for prestigious national and international fellowships. Students interested in applying for a Truman Scholarship are encouraged to contact Drew Lamonica Arms, director of the Office of Fellowship Advising, at fellowships@lsu.edu.

The Truman Foundation was founded in 1975 as a memorial to the nation’s 33rd President, Harry S. Truman. Its mission is to support the graduate education and professional development of undergraduate students who are committed to public service leadership and who have the potential to act as “change agents” for the public good.

The Ogden Honors College, established in 1992, is a vibrant, diverse and prestigious community located at the heart of LSU. The Ogden Honors College provides students with a curriculum of rigorous seminar classes, as well as opportunities for undergraduate research, culminating in the Honors Thesis. Its focus on community service, study abroad, internships and independent research helps today’s high-achieving students become tomorrow’s leaders.