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Hayden Richardson wins Truman Scholarship

Northwestern University junior Hayden Richardson has received a highly competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a $30,000 award that supports graduate education for outstanding students who plan to pursue careers in public service.

Richardson, a political science and legal studies double major, plans to attend law school and dedicate her career to changing the culture of her home state of Nebraska and help the next generation of women by enacting change when it comes to prosecuting sex crimes.

“My ultimate goal is to return back to Nebraska and serve as a prosecutor,” Hayden said. "I also want to be the first female representative in the House for District 1," She added.

She said it wasn’t easy to find females to look up to that shared similar interests as her, and that is a message that she wants to change for the girls growing up now.

“I always felt that law would be a great fit for me, and I wanted to do something within law that is more hands on and would enable me to make real change on the ground,” she said. 

On campus, Richardson serves as the chair of the Political Science Undergraduate Board. She also serves as the treasurer of the Phi Alpha Delta, an international coed professional fraternity dedicated to supporting undergraduates who want to select law as a career.

As a Miss Nebraska Candidate, she created an initiative to change sex culture in her home state. Over a three-year period, she built curricula building awareness around sex education and gender equality. She partnered with the attorney general of Nebraska and drafted legislation to further criminalize the purchase of sex in the state and also help accelerate the processing of backlogged rape kits.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to select and support the next generation of public service leaders.

Selection panels include distinguished civic leaders, elected officials, university presidents, federal judges and past Truman Scholarship winners. 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.

There have been 3,322 Truman Scholars selected since the first awards in 1977. Prominent Truman Scholars include Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (1987), U.S. Senator Chris Coons (1983), former National Security Advisor Susan Rice (1984), U.S. Congressman Tom Malinowski (1985), U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch (1986), U.S. Congressman Greg Stanton (1990), U.S. Congressman Dusty Johnson (1998), U.S. Congressman Andy Kim (2003), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (1981), former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (1977), Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (1994) and former Ambassador Michelle Gavin (1995). Truman Scholars lead at all levels of government and throughout the nonprofit sector, from local to global. 

Students interested in learning more about the Truman Scholarship should contact Northwestern’s Office of Fellowships.