Photo by Lee Pellegrini

Boston College junior Natalee Deaette of Montgomery, Vt., a student in the Lynch School of Education, has been named a recipient of a 2018 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, one of just 59 winners nationwide from an applicant pool of 756 candidates.

The prestigious Truman Scholarship, established by Congress in 1975 to honor the memory of the 33rd president, supports the graduate education and personal development of standout undergraduates committed to public service leadership.  Awarded on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and a strong record of public service, the scholarship requires a detailed policy proposal that addresses a particular societal challenge.  

Deaette, an applied psychology and human development major with a community advocacy and social policy concentration, and a minor in managing for social impact, has been intensely involved in campus activities that reflect her public service commitment and leadership, including the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC); McGillycuddy Logue Fellows Program; the Montserrat Coalition, which provides support for students with high financial need; the Emerging Leader Program; Appalachia Volunteers; and the Global Medical Brigades, a student-led medical service program that concludes with a service trip to Nicaragua to provide medical care to underserved communities. During her senior year, she will serve as chief of staff for UGBC and coordinator of the Emerging Leader Program.

"Natalee epitomizes the character and leadership qualities for which the Truman Scholarship was created,” said Stanton Wortham, Charles Donovan, S.J., dean of the Lynch School. “She possesses a rare blend of intelligence, passion and humility, together with a commitment to students and families from rural backgrounds who, like her, aspire to achieve. She is a very deserving recipient, and we're proud to have her as a Lynch School student.”

"When I met Natalee, she was a first-year student, and there was clearly something exceptional about her—not just her tremendous intellectual gifts, but her passion for fair policies and real-world action," said Julia DeVoy, Lynch School associate dean of undergraduate students.  "Natalee always puts others first, does things right, but far more importantly, she does the next right thing. There seem to be no limits to her incredible spirit and no obstacle she is unwilling to tackle in the service of justice."

Adrienne Chiozzi, former director of BC's Emerging Leader Program, offered a similar assessment. "Natalee stands out among the dozens of student leaders I've worked with because she serves others wholeheartedly, even when in the midst of her own challenges. In so many ways, her success is due to her resilience, character, and dedication. The Truman Scholarship will enable her to increase her positive impact on those around her, particularly those who need a strong mentor and guide."

Truman Scholarship recipients receive a $30,000 award toward graduate school, and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming this summer at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., to help prepare them for careers in public service leadership.

"Receiving the Truman Scholarship is such an honor," said Deaette, who is BC's 19th Truman Scholarship recipient overall.  “When I started the application process almost a year ago, it was a pipe dream that I never thought would become a reality. I was the first in my family to go to college and I have had to work incredibly hard to afford it, so the fact that I am now going to receive support to go to graduate school to study what I am passionate about means the world to me. I hope to focus my coursework on finding and developing solutions to the inequitable access to higher education, particularly for the often overlooked population of rural high school students."

A graduate of North Country Union High School in Newport, Vt., Deaette distinguished herself both as a participant and staff member at Johnson State College's Upward Bound program, which provides low-income, first-generation Vermont high school students with an opportunity to prepare for collegiate success.

"Working with Upward Bound is what ultimately has pushed me to pursue a career in public service," said Deaette, who plans to pursue graduate studies in educational policy and leadership.  "I've not only experienced firsthand the difficulties that students with this background face in accessing and completing higher education, but I've also had the privilege of hearing the stories of countless more through my work as a staff member."

Deaette, who is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society of Jesuit universities, will receive her award at a ceremony at the Truman Library on May 27.

—Phil Gloudemans | University Communications