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Truman—Times Two

Jackson Boaz, SPA/BA ’24, and Edwin Santos, SPA/BA ’24, MPA ’25, were named 2024 Truman Scholars—AU’s first in four years.

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Boaz and Santos

Two American University seniors—Jackson Boaz, SPA/BA ’24, and Edwin Santos, SPA/BA ’24, MPA ’25—have been named 2024 Truman Scholars. AU is among just six institutions with multiple awardees for this year’s premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders.

Boaz and Santos—AU’s 17th and 18th Truman Scholars since 2000—are the first Eagles to receive the honor since 2020. They are among 60 scholars selected from a pool of 709 candidates from around the country. 

“The ethos of the Truman Scholarship is not that different from the ethos of AU,” said Paula Warrick, senior director of AU’s Office of Merit Awards. “Truman is really looking for changemakers—those who have identified a real-world problem that can be fixed through public service.” 

The Truman Scholarship was established by Congress in 1975 as a living memorial to the 33rd president. Awardees, who exemplify leadership, academic achievement, and a commitment to public service, receive $30,000 in graduate school funding, mentorship from public service leaders, and hiring preference with the federal government.

Meet AU’s two Truman Scholars here.

Jackson Boaz

Boaz first heard about the Truman Scholarship as a 15-year-old intern for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) presidential campaign in Iowa.

One snowy morning on the campaign trail, Boaz sent a direct message on Twitter to Iowa state auditor Rob Sand, a former Truman Scholar, and asked to meet at a nearby coffee shop to talk about his experience. The two discussed how the scholarship could nurture Boaz’s budding interest in public service. 

“Ever since then, I’m like, ‘I’ve got to get the Truman Scholarship,’” said the CLEG major. 

In the years since that conversation, Boaz has worked as a legislative aide and campaign manager with and for many Truman Scholars across the country. He said it’s an honor to join the ranks of 3,564 scholars who have gone on to prominent roles in government, including on the Supreme Court and in the federal and state legislatures. 

“It’s a wonderful piece of validation that will also provide countless opportunities moving forward,” said Boaz, who works full-time as a press and digital coordinator and a digital rapid response coordinator for Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Boaz, who was primarily mentored by Warrick throughout the process, said the scholarship will help him pursue a master’s in public policy and attend law school.

“I want to give back to both the community I grew up in and all these communities that I’ve lived in and learned to love around the country,” he said.  

Edwin Santos

When Santos learned he’d received the Truman Scholarship, his first call was to his parents and aunt. Santos’ biggest supporters cheered as he shared the good news—he’d earned his third nationally competitive scholarship. 

“They immigrated from El Salvador,” said Santos, president of AU Student Government, who grew up in Woodbridge, Virginia. “I’m able to accomplish all of this because of their hard work.” 

In 2022, Santos received the inaugural Voyager Scholarship from the Obama Foundation. A year later, the legal studies major accepted the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. This Truman Scholarship will help Santos pursue his next step in a career in policy and government—law school. 

“It provides some financial security. As a first-generation student, law school is daunting because it’s very expensive” Santos said. “I pushed myself so hard during undergrad to do well in school to get a good scholarship.” 

Santos worked closely with Lori Felton, assistant director of the Office of Merit Awards, on his Truman application. Santos credits the office with helping land experiential learning opportunities and travel the world. 

“I’ve put in a lot of work, but they’ve also put a lot of work into me,” Santos said. “I really appreciate their time and investment in me.”