Political science major Erica Poff researches African politics and development
ATHENS, Ohio (March 20, 2007) -- Erica Poff, an Ohio University junior majoring in political science, has been named a finalist for the nationally competitive Truman Scholarship.
Poff, who has studied African politics and development in Nairobi, Kenya, also is president of the Global Interest Society, a campus group that raises awareness for international issues.
She plans to work in the field of international development, particularly in urban slum renewal and development, which made her a good fit as a Truman applicant. The scholarship recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or other public service.
"There are people who want to make improvements in their lives and are making these big jumps (with grass-roots efforts)," Poff said about the people she worked with in Africa. "I want to be a part of this greater movement and collaboration."
Also a research intern for the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment at the Voinovich Center, Poff researches policy issues related to alternative fuels and other environmental initiatives. She said the position has helped prepare her for future work in public policy, an area she plans to pursue.
An Honors Tutorial College student, Poff credits Assistant Professor of Anthropology Haley Duschinski for helping shape her academic career while she served as her research apprentice last year. Duschinski described Poff as a brilliant student who knows how to pose research questions.
"I feel that my research really benefited from (her) enthusiasm and energy," Duschinski said. "I think she will contribute in significant ways to thinking critically about economic and social problems in the developing world but to present practical solutions."
Candidates for the Truman Scholarship are evaluated on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, dedicated volunteer work and a commitment to a career in public service. The selection process for Truman Scholars requires a rigorous written application and, for finalists, a personal interview. Scholars receive $30,000 for graduate work, attend a Leadership Week with other Truman Scholars and participate in a summer internship program in Washington, D.C.
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