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Change Agents

The Ogden Honors College Nominates Students for Prestigious Truman Scholarship

The LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College has nominated four Ogden Honors students for the prestigious Truman Scholarship. Sarah Corie, Zachary Faircloth, Joan Lyons and Chauncey Stephens will compete with students from universities across the country for the chance to be named a 2016 Truman Scholar. Students must be selected through an internal competition at LSU in order to compete for the scholarship.

“Each of these four nominees would make fabulous Truman Scholars,” said Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle. “They represent the best LSU and the Ogden Honors College has to offer: leadership, service and serious policy solutions to major societal problems."

“It’s been an incredibly rewarding process working with these four dedicated ‘change agents,’” said Drew Lamonica Arms, director of the Ogden Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising. “They’ve worked hard to refine their graduate and career plans and present compelling policy proposals. They are also clearly four of the most dedicated service-leaders at LSU. We wish them all the best as they compete; they are the best! I couldn’t be more proud of their effort in the Truman Scholarship competition.

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 public policy that addresses a current public issue. Only 55 to 65 Truman Scholars are selected each year from over 600 applications.

Sarah Corie, of Baton Rouge, La., is a junior studying sociology in the LSU College of Sarah CorieHumanities and Social Sciences. Corie’s policy proposal is to implement a “Breakfast in the Classroom” program in public schools throughout the East Baton Rouge Parish school system.

“Studies have demonstrated the importance of a healthy breakfast at the start of a students’ day,” Corie said. “Moving breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom increases academic performance and overall wellbeing.”

During her time at LSU, Corie has been involved with “Kitchens on the Geaux,” a service organization that addresses hunger by reclaiming food from local restaurants and transporting it to the Greater Baton Rouge Area Food Bank. Its student members also volunteer at food pantries and kitchens, and host events on LSU’s campus to bring attention to the hunger and homelessness that exists within the community and often goes unnoticed. She is also an Ogden Honors College Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Scholar.

“I’ve been able to participate in a variety of service projects throughout my time at LSU. Where else would I get the opportunity to bag sweet potatoes on the Parade Grounds for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank or plant marsh grass on the coast of Louisiana? LSU has provided so many interesting and important opportunities to volunteer, and that’s what I love about the service here.”

After graduation, Corie plans to pursue a graduate degree in education policy.

Zachary Faircloth, of Pineville, La., is a senior pursuing electrical engineering and Zachary Fairclothpolitical science dual degrees. Faircloth’s policy proposal concerns higher education, and suggests combating the lack of public support and funding in Louisiana by federally incentivizing states to fund public higher education.

“By distributing already dedicated funds hidden in loan and grant programs to create a federal matching program, states will begin to reevaluate the budgeting priority of higher education,” Faircloth said.

While at LSU, Faircloth has held multiple positions within student government, including senator, Chairman for Budget and Appropriations and Chief Advisor.

“Serving in student government has been unbelievably fulfilling,” Faircloth said. “Being able to create more opportunity for the average LSU student while amplifying their voices to be heard on the state level has been an invaluable experience and extremely satisfying.”

After graduation, Faircloth plans to attend law school and pursue a master’s degree in public policy.

Joan Lyons, of Highlands Ranch, Co., is a junior studying political communication in theJoan Lyons LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. Lyons’ policy proposal tackles cycling and pedestrian safety, suggesting that public universities across the country require their students to take an assessment-based program to educate students on those topics.

“Because students come from all across the country and the world to different universities, education would help enforce policies and create safer roads,” Lyons said. “I have already started the process of creating the assessment at LSU. Since Louisiana has the third-most cyclist and pedestrian deaths per capita in the country, this assessment could prove to be pivotal in minimizing accidents.”

As a student at LSU, Lyons has been involved in numerous areas of leadership and service. She is a student government representative in multiple facets, Ogden Honors College LASAL Scholar, an Ogden Honors College Advocate, a Manship Ambassador, a Tiger Transition Team mentor, a Sole Sisters mentor for the Girls on the Run program, a Volunteer in Public Schools Reading Friend, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and a St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn Social Media Chair and Sponsorship Chair.

“My service [at LSU] has specifically shaped me to who I am today and what I hope to continue to do for a career. Service to others has always been a number one priority in my life, but LSU’s broad array of ways to get involved with the LSU community and beyond has shown me how much of an impact service can make no matter where you serve.”

After graduation, Lyons plans to attend law school and pursue a master’s degree in public policy.

Chauncey Stephens, of Gonzales, La., is a senior studying elementary education in theChauncey Stephens LSU College of Education. Stephens’ policy proposal suggests alterations to the centralized charter school application, referred to as OneApp, to increase equitable school access in New Orleans. The proposed alterations include increased school participation in OneApp, the development of socioeconomically diverse regions, reserved regional seats for students who live in each region, guaranteed sibling admissions to the same school and public transportation to and from each school.

“My policy proposal focuses on ensuring students and families can access high-quality schools while maintaining a strong sense of community and stability,” Stephens said.

During her time at LSU, Stephens has pursued leadership and service opportunities as an Ogden Honors College LASAL scholar, a Resident Assistant in Laville Hall and through Volunteer LSU.

“Service has been at the core of my involvement and most of my experiences at LSU.  My experiences serving have broadened my perspective, given me purpose, and fueled my passions. I have met inspiring individuals, gained amazing mentors, and transformed from a volunteer to a contentious citizen equipped to address community needs with sustainable solutions. Over the last four years, I have come into my own person and discovered how I can be of service to others throughout my lifetime; these are invaluable lessons that I will carry with me for years to come.”

After graduation, Stephens plans on serving in AmeriCorps VISTA for a year before applying to graduate school, where she will pursue a dual master’s in social work and education.

Nine Truman Scholarship have been awarded to LSU students since the Ogden Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising was created in 2005. The Office advises 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 may contact Drew Lamonica Arms, director of the Office of Fellowship Advising, at

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.  


Contact Allison Howell
Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College