Photo courtesy of Kathleen Maher

Meet URI’s newest Truman scholar

University of Rhode Island junior Andy Boardman has been awarded the Truman Scholarship, a prestigious scholarship that is given to college juniors across the country.

The award is given to college students who have displayed exemplary service to their community. According to the Truman Scholarship website, this year it awarded 59 students with scholarships out of the over 600 that had applied in total.    

Boardman studies economics at URI and has an extensive record of service to both the local and state community. Boardman is the president of the URI College Democrats, the vice president of the College Democrats of Rhode Island, a board member of Young Democrats of Rhode Island, an associate member of the Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus, the treasurer for Debate Club and the founder of the URI Economics Student Association. He also attends several other organizations on campus from time to time when his schedule permits.  

To get the scholarship, Boardman said he first worked with the Office of National Fellowships at URI to become a finalist in the State. He then went to Fordham University in New York City to be interviewed by past Truman Scholarship recipients, as well as the president of Fordham University. Boardman said he was interviewed along with another finalist from the State as well as finalists from New York.

Boardman said that his passion about public service made him a good candidate to receive the Truman Scholarship. He said he has tried to give back to the community, the State and the Nation.

“Growing up I saw the impacts of inequality of opportunity and so that has become an issue that I’ve become really passionate about,” Boardman said. “It affects really every aspect of our economy and our society, and so we need dedicated public servants who are committed to addressing issues like that.”  

On the Truman Scholarship website, being a “change agent” is one of the characteristics listed that applicants should hope to be. Boardman said that he is interested in public policy and believes there is a powerful place for change in the way public policy is made. He said that equality of opportunity is one of the many values that he thinks are popular in this country, but not enough is being done in the policies that are actually implemented. He said he believes there is opportunity for a change agent to address these issues in policy.

Boardman said he was elated when he found out he had received a Truman Scholarship. He said URI President David Dooley and the chair of the economics department, Professor Richard McIntyre, along with several others who helped him during this process, surprised him in one of his classes. He said he was unsure at first of what was happening, but soon made the connection. Boardman said it was an honor to be recognized by the president of the University for his work.  

 

Boardman said he could not have done the service he has, which ultimately led to him being awarded the Truman Scholarship, without the support of professors, the Office of National Fellowship and other friends and acquaintances on campus.

“I’m really, really grateful for the URI community and the institution of URI for helping me develop the skills and the interests that have led me to being recognized by the Truman Foundation,” he said.

Upon completing his undergraduate studies at URI, Boardman plans to pursue a Masters in Public Policy, specifically in regards to analysis, evaluation and implementation. He said the sees an issue in public policy today because policies are often implemented but are not followed up on to assess if they are meeting the goals they were designed to achieve. Boardman said he hopes to address this issue by getting his Masters in Public Policy.

In the long run, Boardman said he is looking forward to using what he learned at URI and applying it to either a research institute or a government agency. Boardman said that he one day hopes to be involved with public policy at a federal level.

“I’m looking forward to the doors [the Truman Scholarship] helps open, and the ways it can help achieve my goal of giving back to the community and the country through public service,” Boardman said.