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Last modified: Friday, March 27, 2009

Indiana University Bloomington student named Truman Scholar

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University student Miles E. Taylor has been named a 2009 Truman Scholar, a prestigious award that carries up to $30,000 for graduate study. Taylor, a junior from La Porte, Ind., was informed of the award this week in a meeting with Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie.

Madeleine K. Albright, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation announced the names of Truman Scholars Thursday, March 26.

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Indiana University President Michael McRobbie congratulates IU Bloomington junior Miles Taylor on being named a Truman Scholar.

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Taylor is one of 60 Scholars selected from 601 candidates nominated by 289 colleges and universities. Scholars, who intend to pursue careers in government or nonprofit service, are chosen on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of "making a difference."

Taylor is the 17th IU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the first since 2002. He credited IU Bloomington and its faculty and students with making it possible for him to pursue his intellectual interests in security studies and to win the Truman Scholarship.

"I think the best decision I've made in the past decade was to come to Indiana University," he said. "I couldn't be happier with my undergraduate education so far."

A Wells Scholar with a 4.0 grade-point average, Taylor is majoring in political science and in international security studies through the IU Bloomington Individualized Major Program.

He took time off from college in 2007 to work in Washington, D.C., serving as an intern in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney. From January 2008 to August 2008, he worked as briefing book coordinator at the Department of Homeland Security, helping prepare briefings for Secretary Michael Chertoff and Deputy Secretary Paul Schneider.

"It was my pleasure to teach Miles Taylor when he was a freshman and I have watched in awe as he has moved from the classroom to the Office of the U.S. Vice President, and now to being awarded the Truman Fellowship," said Jean C. Robinson, professor of political science at IU Bloomington and associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"Always interested in politics and national security, Miles' experiences at IU and as an intern in Washington have led him to become more intellectually astute and more alive to the nuances that thoughtful approaches to public policy can bring to democracy. A combination of brilliance, poise and sheer hard work has put Miles into places few undergraduate students ever reach."

Gene Coyle, a retired CIA officer who now teaches in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is Taylor's adviser for the Individualized Major Program.

"I think this is a great recognition of the hard work that Miles has put into his studies," Coyle said of the Truman Scholar award. "Miles told me that in doing research about Truman he came to admire this outspoken former president and now considers him a role model to emulate in the future."

In 2006, Taylor and a friend founded the Student Alliance for National Security, an IU student organization that has brought high-level security experts to speak on campus and is working with the Clinton Global Initiative University to collect student signatures on a Declaration of Oil Independence. He has also served as an intern with the Arms Control Association in Washington, D.C., a research assistant with the Center for Constitutional Democracy in Plural Societies at IU, and a regional director for 2020 Vision, a nonprofit organization focused on energy security.

Taylor attributed his interest in public service and security issues to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when he was in the eighth grade.

"I think the real turning point was Sept. 11," he said. "Since that time, I've been on a trajectory to do whatever I can to ensure the safety of my country."

In addition to up to $30,000 in scholarship funds, Truman Scholars 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.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the nation's 33rd president. Its activities are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury. The 2009 Truman Scholars will assemble May 26 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and will receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., on May 31.