Aubrey Wieberg wins Truman Scholarship


Aubrey Wieberg, a junior politics major, has recently become the first student in the history of the University of Dallas to receive the prestigious Truman scholarship. 

Wieberg said:  “[Winning this scholarship] has really changed the trajectory of my life because I can go to graduate school, perhaps debt free. It opens up a realm in public service that will really help me do the work that I know I’m meant to do and in a way that is going to be more efficient and cost less for me personally. I’m so deeply humbled to be able to receive such an award and to represent the Truman Foundation.”

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, founded by our nation’s 33rd president, seeks to reward students — specifically college juniors — who have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate a deep and abiding commitment to public service, as well as showing academic excellence. 

Wieberg definitely falls into this category. In 2021, she had the idea to found the Dallas Refugee Project nonprofit, which assists refugees in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. She is also the founder of the Big Event at UD, which is centered around community service and volunteerism in the Dallas community.

Dr. Charles Sullivan, associate professor of history and academic advisor to the Truman scholarship, said: “Aubrey Wieberg is among the very most remarkable students whom I have taught at the University of Dallas — or elsewhere.  It will always be among the greatest honors of my time at the University of Dallas that I was able to have a student of her caliber in my classes.”

Gaby O’Neill, associate director for the office of personal career development, helps serve as a coordinator for scholarships and fellowships, which involves publicizing opportunities to students so that they can be aware of them. OPCD was able to help direct Wieburg to the Truman scholarship and Sullivan.

O’Neill said: “The fact that your university can provide a finalist says a lot about your university and the caliber of students that you have. UD had its first finalist in 2019 and ever since then it was very clear — if it wasn’t clear before — that UD can provide [high caliber] students.”

The scholarship provides $30,000 of graduate school funding. Furthermore, certain universities such as Harvard or Yale will match that amount, essentially amounting to a full ride for the Truman scholar. Not only does the scholarship help the student financially, but it also provides its recipients with a community of like-minded individuals. 

Wieberg said: “Knowing that I’m joining such a talented cohort of people is just mind boggling to me. It’s [full of] so many talented people, and to be recognized among them is completely insane.”

The application process is a long one and it revolves around a commitment to a life of public service, one’s community, the graduate school one wishes to attend, and the issue that one is really passionate about. 

Wieberg said: “I’ve worked a lot in public service, but mainly with refugees and immigrant communities in Dallas. So the application mainly centered around that passion of mine.”

The application consists of multiple 300-600 word essays, as well as a policy proposal, three letters of recommendations, and provision of transcripts. Applications are reviewed based on the candidate’s legal state of residence. 

Wieberg said, “My policy was about a community sponsorship program for refugees in the U.S. and basing it off of international models and international cooperation that we could have to gain more knowledge about the system.”

In January, Wieberg submitted her application. In February, she was named a finalist, placing in the top 200 out of 799 applicants. At this point, the finalists were divided up by the state of their legal residence. Wieburg had to compete with about 15 other finalists.

Although Wieberg has been preparing for and seeking this scholarship since her freshman year at UD, she is now looking ahead to what life after college will look like. Wieberg is considering a masters of foreign service program at Georgetown University, although she is not set on attending graduate school immediately after graduating from UD. Instead, she might take up interning opportunities.

Wieberg said: “I really want to use my degree to be able to go abroad and communicate with other countries about how to change our domestic refugee system and the way that we resettle refugees. I think multilateral cooperation is really important. So I hope to aim my graduate studies at something International and diplomatic, something that can prepare me to communicate well with other countries.”

Because of her interest in international relations, Wieberg has pursued a global communications internship with United Airlines for the summer, in which she will be able to help administer the global partnership that United has with other nonprofits.

Wieberg said: “I have a lot of experience knowing how to run a nonprofit from this side. But to be able to allocate resources as big as a company as United is a really cool opportunity, and it’ll give a new perspective on fundraising, and being able to help other nonprofits.”

Wieberg is grateful for this scholarship and she encourages other students to seek out scholarship opportunities whenever they can. “I would just encourage UD students to research these scholarships because it is possible for you to become a finalist or to earn one of these scholarships,” she said. “I think opening your mind to what’s possible and what you can do with your education here is going to be really helpful for future students.”

Many students might feel that certain scholarships are out of their reach, or doubt their own capabilities, but this is the stage in life when the world is at your fingertips.

Sullivan said, “My advice to students who doubt their capabilities is first to believe in themselves, second to shape that belief into a vision for action, and third not to wait for opportunities but to make opportunities.” 

Wieberg’s determination through a difficult application process and hard work in her nonprofit initiatives is a testament to what UD students can do with enough dedication.


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