Rose Lang-Maso ’20 was selected as one of 62 winners of the 2019 Truman Scholarship Thursday, according to the Truman Foundation’s website. The scholarship awards college juniors from across the country who demonstrate high academic achievement and a strong commitment to public service.
“I still can’t really believe it. It doesn’t fully feel real,” Lang-Maso said. “I’m really humbled and honored to have been recognized in this way at a national level.”
Lang-Maso was chosen from a pool of 840 candidates hailing from 346 colleges and universities across the nation, the largest pool of applicants in the scholarship’s 44-year history. Lang-Maso is the second Brown student in two years to receive the scholarship, which consists of $30,000 to be used for graduate school. Scholars also receive priority admission to graduate schools and special internship opportunities in the federal government, according to the foundation’s website.
“The Truman could not have gone to a more deserving candidate,” wrote Christopher Carr, who helps oversee the Truman Scholarship process in the Fellowships office, in an email to The Herald. “Rose embodies the very best of Brown University and the mission of its students, faculty and staff to tackle the most prolific challenges posed by today’s world” he added, citing Lang-Maso’s work with anti-gun legislation, issues of free speech and political campaigns.
Lang-Maso, who studies history and public policy, hopes to use her award to attend law school so she can become a civil rights lawyer and eventually a politician. She has worked as an intern for several Rhode Island politicians, and advocates for progressive legislation as president of the Brown College Democrats.
Lang-Maso earned the scholarship after a months-long application process of essays and interviews that narrowed the application pool down to 197 finalists in February. Nathaniel Pettit ’20 was also selected as a finalist before the last round of interviews, which then decided this year’s scholars.
Lang-Maso said the final interview was “definitely intimidating.”
“All the panelists are very kind but they’re really trying to push you, not in a way that is combative at all, but to make sure you’re secure in your beliefs,” she said.
But meeting the other finalists made the process worth it for her.
“Hearing about how (the other finalists) got there, their accomplishments and also their motivations for doing the work they did was really inspiring,” Lang-Maso said.
In May, Lang-Maso will join her fellow scholars for a week-long leadership development program in Liberty, Mo., where they will participate in community service projects and present group policy projects to a panel of experts.
Looking back on the application process, Lang-Maso encourages anyone considering applying for the scholarship to “go for it.”
“If you want to go into public service and you really want to devote your life to serving others, … it’s something that’s definitely worth putting yourself out there for,” she said.