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KU nominates four outstanding juniors for Truman Scholarships (Virginia Helgeson)

Monday, February 17, 2014

LAWRENCE — Four outstanding juniors at the University of Kansas have been nominated to compete for Harry S. Truman Scholarships. The students, three from Kansas and one from Indiana, are competing for national awards that provide up to $30,000 for college juniors preparing for leadership in public service.

KU’s 2014 nominees:
    •    Emma Halling, a junior from Elkhart, Ind., majoring in American studies and women, gender & sexuality studies
    •    Virginia Helgeson, a junior from Olathe majoring in social welfare and religious studies
    •    Leigh Loving, a junior from McPherson majoring in genetics
    •    Micah Melia, a junior from Prairie Village majoring in anthropology.

Since 1981, 17 KU students have become Truman scholars, including Hannah Sitz, who became a scholar last year. The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to our thirty-third President. Truman Scholar nominees are supported by the nationally recognized University Honors Program.

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 non-profit sector.

A selection committee is reviewing applications from over 650 nominees for the Truman Foundation in Washington, D.C. Approximately 200 

students will be named finalists in late February, and regional interviews will follow in March and early April before all winners are announced on April 16.

More information about KU’s nominees follows.

HallingEmma Halling is the daughter of Greg Halling and Patricia Latshaw Halling from Elkhart, Ind. She attended school in Hutchinson before moving to Indiana, where she graduated from Marian High School in Mishawaka Ind. She is current student body vice president of KU and a member of the University Honors Program. Halling is a double major in American studies and women, gender & sexuality studies, and pursuing two minors in policy studies and economics.



Virginia “Ginny” Helgeson is the daughter of Douglas and Donna Helgeson of Olathe, where she attended Olathe South High School. She is president of the Ecumenical Campus Ministry’s Sexuality Education Committee and a member of the University Honors program. Helgeson is a double major in social welfare and religious studies.


Leigh Loving is the daughter of James and Dawn Loving; Mendota Heights, MN (55118). Originally from McPherson, KS (67460), she is a graduate of McPherson High School. At KU Leigh founded the Jayhawk Health Initiative, a pre-health service learning organization, and is a member of the University Honors Program. She is pursuing a major in biology (genetics).


Micah Melia is the daughter of Tom and Anne Melia of Prairie Village, where she graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School. Melia is a member of the University Honors Program and has been development director for the Center for Community Outreach and currently serves as a program coordinator in the organization. She is majoring in anthropology and minoring in psychology.

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