University of Delaware junior Erin
Dugan, a public policy major in the Honors Program, with minors in
economics and public health, has been named a 2015 Truman Scholar.
Dugan, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, is one of 58 new scholars
selected from a pool of more than 600 applicants, including 200
finalists from 135 institutions. At UD, she is a Eugene du Pont Memorial
Distinguished Scholar, a program which is funded by the Unidel
The federal scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study and is
awarded to juniors based on their records of leadership, public service
and academic achievement.
The 19th Truman Scholar in the University’s history, Dugan intends to
pursue a dual graduate degree in public health and public policy at the
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Having come to UD as a University Studies student, Dugan’s interest
in public health and public policy began with Introduction to Public
Policy and Introduction to Public Health classes taught by Erin Knight, a
Health Policy Fellow in UD’s Center for Community Research and Service.
Dugan’s commitment to public service in the areas of public health
and public policy was reinforced by working at a federally qualified
health center as part of a summer enrichment program at the University
“Working in Detroit was an eye-opening experience,” Dugan said. “I
left there feeling incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have had
in my life, and I want to give this back to others.”
Further goals include using her health policy and public policy
expertise to address health issues and health care disparities based on
“I would like to take what I learn in the classroom and apply it to the real world,” Dugan said.
Dugan, who was one of the two finalists for the award from her
graduating class at Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City, said
she was completely surprised to learn she had been named a Truman
“I enjoyed meeting the other finalists from Utah, and I was extremely
humbled to be given this opportunity,” Dugan said. “My parents, Sarah
and Dan Dugan, have been my number one supporters.”
Dugan also thanked the Honors Program staff, including Michael
Arnold, director, Kevin Liedel, program coordinator, Raymond Peters,
assistant director, Kristin Bennighoff, senior associate director, and
Katharine Kerrane, former senior associate editor.
Support also came from Sue Serra, assistant director in the Office of
Service Learning, UD alums Ryan Leonard and Kevin Sun, and Scott Mason,
associate director, University Student Centers.
At UD, Dugan has made an impact on campus as chair of the UD
Allocations Board, an Honors Program Writing Fellow, the operations
coordinator for UD Alternative Breaks and as a researcher with Erin
Knight in the Center for Community Research and Service.
“Erin has all of the qualities desired in a Truman Scholar,” Peters
said. “I can vouch for her strong desire for a public service career,
and I believe she will continue to serve as a change agent for the
public good and later play a key role in determining public policy.”
Bennighoff remarked that Dugan had made a strong application for the Truman Scholarship.
“We have not had a woman from UD win the Truman Scholarship since
2005, and I am proud of Erin’s success,” Bennighoff said. “Her knowledge
of public health issues and policies in the state of Utah and beyond is
impressive, and she did an excellent job holding firmly to her ideals
throughout the application and interview process.”
The University of Delaware is a Truman Honor Institution, a
distinction that recognizes active encouragement of outstanding young
people to pursue careers in public services, effective promotion of the
Truman program on campus, and sustained success in helping their
students win Truman Scholarships.
Truman Honor Institutions also include Princeton University, Harvard
University, Yale University, the University of Virginia, Duke
University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford
University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
About the Truman Scholarship
The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975
as the federal memorial to President Harry Truman. The foundation
awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in
preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service.
Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study.
Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid
at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and
graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within
the federal government.
Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership
potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class
and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.