Two students, Joanna Foote (SFS ’13) and Shea Houlihan (SFS ’13), have advanced to the final round in this year’s competition for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

The juniors are two of 191 finalists for the award, which provides students who demonstrate a strong record in public service with $30,000 toward graduate studies. This year, more than 580 students nationwide applied for the award, which was created to honor former President Harry Truman.

Houlihan, who is currently studying politics, philosophy and economics at St. Peter’s College of Oxford University, has always anticipated a career in public service. He believes that his academic focus has made him particularly competitive in the selection process.

“I work in migration studies, which offers ample opportunity to earn scholarship and service experience. Equally important, I received intensive feedback and support from Georgetown’s Office of Fellowships and Awards,” Houlihan wrote in an email.

Foote’s passion lies in immigration law and reform, a field she hopes to study at Stanford University after graduating from Georgetown. She took a leave of absence during the fall of 2011 to advocate for immigrant rights along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Foote originally became interested in applying for a Truman Scholarship after receiving several recommendations from faculty and peers in the Carroll Fellows Initiative.

“They said that the person the program is looking for sounded a lot like me,” she said.

Georgetown has produced 25 Truman Scholars, with the last recipient, Sebastian Johnson (COL ’10), winning in 2009.

The scholarship’s selection committee will ultimately award 60 scholarships after interviewing all of the applicants this month.

“I’d be perfectly happy losing at this point because the application process has taught me so much about myself and my passion for immigration reform,” Foote said. “That is more important to me than winning.”

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