Haleemat Adekoya ‘23, political science, received a surprise phone call last Tuesday morning. On the line were both UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski and Valerie Sheares Ashby, who just one day earlier was announced as UMBC’s next president. They were calling together to share, with heartfelt congratulations, her selection as a 2022 Truman Scholar.
Adekoya has spent the last year preparing to apply for the renowned national scholarship focused on public service. After a series of rigorous interviews, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation announced Adekoya as one of just 58 students nationwide to receive the award. Adekoya is UMBC’s fifth Truman Scholar.
The Foundation selected recipients from a pool of over 700 applicants who showed a strong record of public service and also submitted a policy proposal addressing a concerning issue in society. Scholars receive $30,000 to attend the graduate school of their choice, as well as access to public service programs, mentorship, and job opportunities within the federal government.
This year also marked the second time two UMBC students reached the final round of Truman Scholar selection. In addition to Adekoya, Rehman Liaqat ‘22, political science, was also chosen as a finalist.
“Having two finalists is a huge honor for UMBC, with only 58 winners selected, that means that our students are highly competitive for this award.”
~Dr. April Householder, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships
Other institutions with multiple finalists include Duke, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford.
UMBC Junior Wins National Public Service Scholarship
April 11, 2019
Evan is a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar and member of the Honors College, studying economics and political science at UMBC. He is passionate about solving the structural disadvantages that marginalized populations face when trying to achieve long-term financial security. “Evan has taken on what other students might consider “boring” endeavors- income tax preparation, working for the U.S. Census Bureau- and turned them into deeply meaningful experiences, ones that he sees as inextricably linked to empowering people. He cares about people who are invisible to many- immigrants, retirees, the poor,” observes April Householder, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships.
In 2018, Evan won a national research competition, the iOme Challenge, with policy solutions for gig workers who lack access to qualified retirement plans. He has since been invited to speak on the subject at several policy conferences, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As President and Site Manager of UMBC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), Evan deters predatory tax preparers by training students to prepare free income taxes for over 500 low-income households in the Baltimore area. Evan is has also interned at the U.S. Census Bureau and Treasury Department. After graduation, Evan intends to earn a dual JD/LLM in Taxation and pursue a public service career in tax and social insurance policy.
According to Arthur Johnson, former UMBC Provost and Director of the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program, “Evan’s selection is a reflection of the significance and relevance of the service activities that UMBC students are providing through programs such as the Sondheim Scholars, Shriver Center, Honors College, and many others. It also is further evidence that UMBC’s commitment to civic engagement is alive and well among our students. Among many other expectations, Truman Scholars are expected to become leaders of our nation and communities and we are confident that Evan will fulfill those expectations.”
More past winner’s:
Alicia L. Wilson, ’04
Phyllis A. Nagy, ’85
Donald A. Himes, ’82.