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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Nation

Second-ever UH student named Truman Scholar


Political science senior Mike Floyd is currently the Treasurer for the Texas Democratic Party. At UH, Floyd is a SGA supreme court justice. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

A political science senior last week was chosen to receive the prestigious Truman Scholarship, the second-ever UH student to earn the honor.

Mike Floyd was chosen as one of 62 people to receive the award from the Harry S. Truman Foundation, given to students who want to go to graduate school in preparation for a career in public service.

“We were really kind of flying blind because UH has not had one in 36 years … nobody has been able to get through the application process and past the interview stage,” Floyd said.

The process of applying for this scholarship is a two-step procedure composed of a thorough application and then a select number of people get to the interview stage.

Floyd’s interview took place on March 4th in Austin. He was interviewed with eight other applicants, including fellow University student Wasiq Javed.

“The interview happened, and it was very intense,” Floyd said. “Some really prestigious people were grilling me. That was difficult, but it was fun, and I’m honored to be selected.”

Floyd’s public service career began in high school where was elected in 2017 to the Pearland Independent School District board of trustees.

He was elected as treasurer of the Texas Democratic Party in 2018, making him the youngest ever state party official.

“A lot of times, college students are at a disadvantage, because they’re either interning or thinking about what they wanna do down the line,” Floyd said. “But I actually have a record of public service that I can turn back to and look at and just the experience of trying my best to convince people decades older than me that I’m someone they should vote for to invest in.”

The news about his honor came while Floyd was in class over Microsoft Teams. He received a phone call from an unknown number. On the other end of the line was the University president Renu Khator to let him know of the results a week before the list was publicly announced.

“When you think about applying for something, obviously everyone thinks about winning it,” Floyd said. “When you actually do win it, it’s a different feeling, and I think that’s universal for everything.”

The scholarship is for $30,000 but comes with responsibilities. Part of the requirements after accepting the scholarship include working in public service for at least three out of seven years directly after graduate school.

Other than award money, scholars also receive other benefits, such as training in public service leadership in May and opportunities to network with senators, governors and heads of different nonprofit organizations.

“It can be in government, nonprofits, just doing something good for the world that’s not making a buck off of it is what I’ve always wanted to do,” Floyd said. “I’m just really grateful to be a part of this network of scholars that are dedicated to public service leadership.”

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