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Ogden Honors Senior Chauncey Stephens Awarded Prestigious Truman Scholarship

National Public Policy fellowship supports graduate study for elementary education major


April 21, 2016


BATON ROUGE – The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has announced that LSU senior Chauncey Stephens, a native of Gonzales, La., has been awarded the prestigious Truman Scholarship. Fifty-four new Truman Scholars were selected in 2016.

“We congratulate Chauncey on being recognized nationally with this prestigious scholarship opportunity,” said LSU President F. Alexander. “This is a well-deserved honor, and we applaud her commitment to wanting to work to serve low-income families and the ‘Higher Education for All’ program through Hope and a Home. Part of Truman Scholarship is service and Chauncey has shown an eagerness to serve throughout her time at LSU.”

In her application, Stephens said she would apply for the Truman program’s Washington Summer Institute to work with Hope and a Home, a non-profit that fights to break the cycle of poverty through intensive programming addressing housing, education, employment and community engagement.

Stephens, who plans to graduate in December, is a member of the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College and is studying elementary education in the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education. 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.

“When President Alexander called me to share the news, all I could say was ‘thank you,’ again and again,” Stephens said. “I am incredibly honored to be selected as a Truman scholar, and my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who has supported me along this journey. Throughout my life, especially while at LSU, I have been very fortunate to have a strong community of support – people who have not only believed in me but strongly shaped my experiences. They have challenged me to grow, encouraged me to persevere and inspired me to dream.”

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

“I am grateful for the opportunity to develop my potential as a public servant and work alongside brilliant leaders from across the country to make positive systemic change in our communities,” Stephens said. “Going forward, my experiences growing up in the public school system in Ascension parish and as a student leader at LSU will continue to inspire my work, as well as motivate me to create opportunities for all children to access an equitable public education within their own communities.”

Stephens’ policy proposal in her Truman application suggested 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.

“Chauncey is further proof that, indeed, our students are making our world a better place to live,” said College of Human Sciences & Education Dean Damon Andrew. “She is an example of our college’s mission in action – her research and personal passion for education is helping address complex issues in our state, nation, and even the world.”

Stephens is LSU’s 11th Truman Scholar since 2003. She joins Michael Beyer, a native of New Orleans who received the award in 2015; Marlee Pittman, a native of Baton Rouge who received the award in 2014; Catherine Fontenot, a native of Basile, La., who received the award in 2013; Matthew Landrieu, a native of New Orleans who received the award in 2013; Devon Wade, a native of Houston who received the award in 2010; Micaela de Gruy, a native of Baton Rouge who received the award in 2009; Claire Kendig, a native of Shreveport who received the award in 2008; Cynthia “CC” DuBois, a native of Ponchatoula who received the award in 2006; Jacob Landry, a native of Hathaway, La., who received the award in 2005; and Allen Richey, a native of Baton Rouge who received the award in 2003.

“I cannot think of a more consummate Truman Scholar than Chauncey Stephens,” LSU Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle said. “She embodies every aspect of what the scholarship is about: academic excellence, service to the community, and using our political institutions to improve the lives of ordinary people. I know she will do great things with the scholarship and in the wider world after she’s through.”

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation’s living memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The foundation has a mission to select and support the next generation of public service leaders. The Truman award has become one of the most prestigious national scholarships in the United States.

“I am so happy for Chauncey,” LSU Honors College Associate Dean Granger Babcock said. “I have had the great privilege to work with her for the past four years; she is a dedicated public servant, and the Truman Scholarship represents the culmination of her moral and intellectual commitments and values, a true alignment of heart and head.”

Recipients of the Truman Scholarship receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming to help prepare them for careers in public service leadership.

Annually, candidates for the Truman Scholarship go through a rigorous, multi-stage selection process. In 2016, there were 775 candidates for the award nominated by 305 colleges and universities, a record number of applications and institutions. The 200 finalists for the award were interviewed in March and early April at one of sixteen regional selection panels. They will receive their awards in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum on Sunday, May 29.

Stephens said, “I would like to thank my mother and brothers who have loved me unconditionally and make me a better person every day; my friends who have always been there to pick me up and keep me going; my mentors who have helped me gain new perspectives, discover my passions, and develop a purpose for my future; the community back home in Ascension parish that helped my family and me overcome great obstacles; and the community at LSU that has provided opportunities for me to learn, serve and lead.  I am a product of their support, and receiving the Truman Scholarship is a testament to their selfless commitment; I would not be here without it.”

The Ogden Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising assists students in applying for prestigious undergraduate and post-graduate fellowships and scholarships. For more information about fellowship advising resources, or to schedule an appointment, contact

College of Human Sciences & Education

The College of Human Sciences & Education is a nationally accredited division of LSU. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer eight undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The college is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs. Visit for more information.

LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College

The Ogden Honors College, established in 1992, is a vibrant, diverse and prestigious community located at the heart of LSU. The Honors College typically admits the top 10 percent of incoming LSU freshmen, and 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 Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations


Mary Woods
College of Human Sciences & Education