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Two U of A juniors selected as Truman finalists

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Grace Stoops and Juliana Kantner

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — Two juniors from the University of Arkansas, Julianna Kantner and Grace Stoops, have been selected as finalists for the 2022 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Kantner, from Shawnee, Kansas, is majoring in political science and international and global studies at Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. Stoops, of Bixby, Oklahoma, is majoring in public health at the College of Education and Health Professions.

“The Truman Scholarship application process is one of the most competitive in the country,” said Acting Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Terry Martin. “Students are selected as finalists because of a demonstrated commitment to a career in public service and because they have already been actively engaged in making positive changes to their own campuses and communities. Given these expectations, it It’s easy to see why Julianna Kantner and Grace Stoops were selected as finalists. They are both committed to serving others and making real and lasting differences in their communities, and they will pursue careers that will benefit the public in this state. and beyond.”

Truman Scholars receive $30,000 in scholarships to attend graduate or vocational school. The application process is rigorous and requires more than 50 hours. This year, 705 students from 275 colleges and universities across the country applied for Truman scholarships. Finalists demonstrate exceptional leadership, public service and academic achievement.

“The tremendous interest in public service from this year’s nominees is inspiring,” said Terry Babcock-Lumish, executive secretary of the Truman Foundation in a press release naming the finalists. “The past few years have tested our nation with a deadly pandemic, an economic crisis and a renewed call to address climate change, racial injustice and the health of our democratic institutions. In these difficult times, Americans can take comfort in the fact that a generation of action-oriented young leaders are already tackling today’s challenges to improve the world of tomorrow.


Kantner is on a pre-legal path with an interest in law and specialized legal systems. She is deeply involved in refugee resettlement efforts in northwest Arkansas, served as president and vice president of Students with Refugees, and volunteers with nonprofits working for food security and youth mentoring.

She is also Vice President of Rotaract where she trains students in social change strategies. Kantner co-sponsors a refugee family, welcomes them into the community and helps with cross-cultural orientation.

For her honors thesis, she is studying the development of a volunteer program in refugee resettlement and launching an advocacy training program for students to help the local resettlement agency.

Inspiring her interest in specialty courts, she articled with the Washington County Public Defender’s Office, specializing in drug courts. Kantner intends to pursue a law degree to acquire the legal knowledge needed to represent clients and provide legal aid to marginalized communities.

“I am honored to be selected as a Truman Finalist,” Kantner said. “I couldn’t be more grateful to the amazing teachers, mentors, family and friends who helped me through this process. I am grateful to have mentors at the U of A who have taken the time to connect me with opportunities where I can learn more about the needs of people in my community. I look forward to using my law degree to continue supporting marginalized communities. This process pushed me to learn more about the shortcomings of the criminal justice system, to explore solutions rooted in specialized court systems, and to sharpen my hopes for the future.


Stoops is studying public health with a minor in medical humanities, with a long-term focus on health education for high school and college students. While on campus, she founded Sexual Health Organization and Outreach (SHOO). SHOO provides sex education to U of A students through events, seminars, and guest speakers.

She has also volunteered at The Little Light House, a non-profit school for children with disabilities, and is currently a hospitality and management intern at the YMCA of the Rockies. Stoops plans to earn a master’s degree in public health with a focus on health education and initially work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the future, she hopes to use her extensive research to expand SHOO nationwide as a non-profit organization and create outreach programs for students.

“I am extremely honored to have the honor of being a finalist for the 2022 Truman Fellowship,” Stoops said. “The candidacy has encouraged me to learn more about my passions and the community that I will one day happily serve. I am very excited to see where this opportunity takes me and I appreciate all the support I have received from teachers and advisors!”

University of Arkansas students who wish to apply for the Truman Fellowship should contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at [email protected]

About U of A Truman Scholars: The University of Arkansas has produced 25 Truman Scholars, more than any other university in the Southeastern Conference. In 2002, the University of Arkansas was named the Truman Scholarship Honor Institution for student commitment to service and its track record with the Truman Scholarship Program. Since 2012, ten U of A students have been named Truman Scholars. Recent fellows include Coleman Warren, political science, 2021; Samia Ismail, biomedical engineering, 2019; Ryann Alonso, Political Science and Communications, and Sam Harris, Agribusiness, 2017; Victoria Maloch, Agricultural Business, and Danielle Neighbour, Civil Engineering, 2016; Grant Addison, History and Political Science, 2015; Cicely Shannon, economics, 2014; Nathan Coulter, political science, 2013; and Mike Norton, Agriculture Business and Poultry Science, 2012.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas offers an internationally competitive education to undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes to new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while providing services to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the University of Arkansas among less than 3% of colleges and universities in America with the highest level of research activity. US News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top US public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentorship.