Warren Seay says service is in his future, and it’s his present focus as well. The junior Hunt Leadership Scholar has received a prestigious national award recognizing his potential – even as he’s running for public office for the first time, at age 20.
Out of more than 600 candidates, Seay is one of 60 students from 55 U.S. colleges and universities to be named a 2009 Truman Scholar. The award recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government or elsewhere in public service. It provides up to $30,000 for graduate study, in addition to leadership training and internship opportunities. Seay is the 12th Truman Scholar at SMU since the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975.
“This Truman Scholarship is a testament to the guidance I’ve received from my professors and mentors at SMU,” says Seay, a political science major in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and the president of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. “It represents the type of service-learning that SMU offers and that I want to be part of in the future.”
Seay learned about the Truman Scholarship Foundation during his time as a Department of Labor intern in the 2008-10 Institute for Responsible Citizenship. He began the intensive application process upon his return to SMU in Fall 2008, focusing on minorities and education, particularly in Texas schools and his hometown district of DeSoto.
“I’ve seen what education can do for a person,” he says. “The level of minority underachievement bothers me, and I want to devote graduate school and my career to closing the achievement gap that exists in our country.”
As a result of his research on struggling students and schools, Seay says, he decided to launch a bid for an open seat on the DeSoto Independent School District Board of Trustees.
He told The Dallas Morning News, “I’m a lifelong product of DeSoto’s public school system, I’ve studied the issues, and I know the schools well.” The school board election will be held May 9, 2009.