UND junior Jed Hanson is already thinking about graduate school thanks to a big scholarship win.
University of North Dakota student Jed Hanson is the 2016 North Dakota winner of the nation’s most prestigious scholarships for graduate school.
The scholarship, from the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, is worth $30,000 and is to be used towards a graduate education and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming to help prepare students for careers in public service leadership. In 2016, there were 775 candidates for the award, nominated by 305 colleges and universities, a record number of applications and institutions. Only 54 of those candidates were selected.
Hanson and the other winners officially received their awards in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum on Sunday (May 29).
“The application process for the scholarship was a lengthy process, but not a scary one,” said Hanson, a junior, who is studying political science and public administration.
The first thing you have to do is talk to your faculty advisor. UND Professor of Political Science and Public Administration Mark Jendrysik helped guide Hanson through the process.
“Jed is a change agent on our campus and in our community and in this state,” Jendrysik said. “He has worked hard to serve and lead in every situation, balancing academics and service and excelling in each – keep an eye on this young man.”
To be considered for a Truman Scholarship, there are a number of essays that must be written, both personal and professional. In doing so, an applicant must identify an issue, propose a solution and forecast potential hurdles for implementing a plan. Applications are reviewed by the political science and public administration department, then it’s submitted to the Truman Foundation. If they decide they are interested in an applicant, the candidate receives an interview.
“I was extremely happy when I heard the news that I had won,” said Hanson. “It was a suspenseful time waiting to hear if I had received the scholarship or not.”
Hanson grew up on a farmstead right outside of Argusville, N.D., just north of Fargo. His dad worked for North Dakota State University Housing and his mom worked at the Northern Cass High School, where Hanson attended classes. Hanson also has one sister who is currently a freshman at UND.
In high school, Hanson was student council president and on the speech team. Because of his experience on student council he was used to a role in managing people and projects, and he learned how to conduct business in a professional manner. Also, his participation on the speech team helped him to become a better public speaker. These skills have benefitted him throughout college, he said.
“I have been interested in public affairs and government for as long as I can remember,” said Hanson. “I first became interested because my dad was on city council and he always had me read the council meeting minutes, and I also began to run the website for my hometown, which was something I enjoyed doing.”
Hanson has been involved in many activities and organizations during his time at UND. He is the executive director and former communications director for College Democrats of North Dakota and a former field organizer for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. He is also involved in Student Ambassadors and Third Wave, a feminist group on UND’s campus.
In addition, he works for Gate City Bank, judges speech meets and volunteers for many electoral causes.
This summer, Hanson plans to participate in the Truman Summer Institute in Washington D.C. Upon completing that, he plans on attending grad school to pursue a master’s degree in urban affairs & urban planning.
He would like to one day work for a city advocating rapid transit systems.
About the scholarship:
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation’s living memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The Foundation has a mission to select and support the next generation of public service leaders.