Four CSU students named finalists for Truman Scholarship

Austin Fleskes

Every year, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards the Truman scholarship to students across the nation who are proponents of public service in many different fields.

This year, four Colorado State University students out of 194 national finalists have been named finalists for the scholarship. 

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Francis Commercon and Jason Sydoriak met with the Truman nominees for the year in the TILT building to discuss questions and other information for the interview
Francis Commercon, a previous Truman scholarship recipient, and Jason Sydoriak, a previous Truman scholarship finalist, meet with the current finalists for the year to discuss questions and other information for the interview. (Austin Fleskes | Collegian)

The finalists are Clint Fallon, a senior fish, wildlife and biology major; Sage Mijares, a junior animal sciences major; Cat Sunstone, a senior human dimensions of natural resources major; and Coral Isaacs, a senior environmental health major. 

According to the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation website, the foundation identifies young people at “an important inflection point in their development,” specifically when they are college juniors and up, and “recognize and reward their commitments to devote themselves to public service.” 

Nominees will interview in front of a board to explain why what they do would be considered public service, among other questions. Those who are awarded the scholarship are given the opportunity of $30,000 for graduate school and the opportunity to intern at an organization of their choosing for a summer in Washington, D.C. 

Fallon, an Army veteran, arrived at CSU after being unsure if he would even go to college. He said he chose his major because he felt that nature holds an intrinsic value and that he could learn to protect nature for generations to come. 

Clint Fallon, a senior Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, is one of the four CSU nominees for the Truman Scholarship. Fallon is pictured here outside of the Lory Student Center.
Clint Fallon, a senior fish, wildlife and conservation biology major, is one of the four CSU finalists for the Truman Scholarship. (Austin Fleskes | Collegian)

Fallon said that being selected as a finalist is an honor for him. 

“It’s good to know it’s not a small window,” Fallon said. “It’s open to all sorts of different people who are trying to make a difference in a way they think is most effective.” 

Mijares, who is currently studying abroad in New Zealand, has been involved with the ranching community her whole life and decided she wanted to pursue an animal sciences degree. 

She said that she is very grateful to be nominated for the scholarship 

“Representing agriculture and being nominated for the scholarship, I’m really excited to send the message that agriculture and livestock production is ready to embrace change and we are excited to find new ways forward,” Mijares said. 

Coral Isaacs speaks with Francis Commercon at a meeting on March 1, 2018 in the TILIT building. (Photo | Austin Fleskes)
Coral Isaacs, right, speaks with Francis Commercon at a meeting on March 1, 2018 in the TILT building. (Austin Fleskes | Collegian)

Isaacs, who is originally from Anchorage, Alaska, started wanting to be a physician’s assistant for a hospital and eventually landed on environmental health for her major.

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Isaacs said being nominated changed her views on what she is doing. 

“This semester I decided I am finally in something I really enjoy,” Isaacs said. “Being nominated for the Truman scholarship was the way for me to feel that ‘this is where I belong.'”

Sunstone said that she chose her major because it was the social science side of natural resources and gets her excited to learn everything possible. 

Cat Sunstone senior Human Dimensions of Natural Resources major is one of the four nominees for the Truman scholarship. Sunstone is pictured here in Sherwood Forrest outside of the Warner College of Natural Resources.
Cat Sunstone, a senior human dimensions of natural resources major is one of the four finalists for the Truman scholarship. (Austin Fleskes | Collegian)

She added that being nominated is acknowledgment of all the hard work she has been doing for the last few years, after coming back to school after a while. 

“It is a really powerful sense of accomplishment,” Sunstone said. “It was an enormous achievement to do, and it means a lot to me that the committee recognized everything I have done.”

Mary Swanson, the associate director of the office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry and the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising, has helped these four get ready for the interview. 

“It is a great privilege to get to work with students. It is exciting to see applications come together and I am really proud of all our nominees (and all our applicants),” Swanson said. 

Students interested in applying for this scholarship are urged to reach out to Swanson to find out more information.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of a photo cutline in this article incorrectly stated that Jason Sydoriak received the Truman scholarship. A previous also referred to the students as nominees but has been updated to reflect that the CSU students are finalists for the scholarship.

Collegian reporter Austin Fleskes can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Austinfleskes07.