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Vanderbilt junior to cross globe this summer in pursuit of public service

May. 6, 2005, 11:08 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ñ Though university classes have wrapped for the
summer, Vanderbilt junior Star Wallin won‘t be taking a hard-earned
break.

Wallin will start her summer in Liberty, Mo., taking part in a
week-long leadership development conference as one of the nation‘s 2005
Harry S. Truman Scholars. From the end of May through August, she will
be in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, working as an outreach coordinator for
the Jane Goodall Institute. Then in mid-August, she will return to the
states to attend a gathering of the 2005 Morris K. Udall Scholars in
Tuscon, Ariz., before returning to Vanderbilt for her senior year. She
even plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro while in Africa ñ but just for
fun and in her “spare time.”

Wallin is more than willing to surrender her vacation for these
opportunities, which she considers invaluable training for her future
career in public service.

“Receiving both the Truman and Udall scholarships has served to
strengthen my commitment to living a life of service,” said Wallin, an
environmental public policy and sociology major at Vanderbilt. “I am
humbled by the opportunities the awards will provide to further my
education and network with outstanding students from across the
country.”

The Picayune, Miss., resident is the second recipient of the Truman
Scholarship ñ a prestigious award which provides $30,000 for graduate
education ñ in her family. Her sister, Ashley Amber Wallin, was an
elementary and deaf education major at Vanderbilt and received the
scholarship in 2003.

“I am grateful to come from a family that has instilled in me the power
of compassion for others, and I feel fortunate to attend a university
that encourages students to apply their knowledge to better the world
around them,” Wallin said. “My sister and I both came to Vanderbilt
largely because of the Ingram Scholars Program, and we are proud to
represent Vanderbilt and the Ingram family as Truman
Scholars.”

As an Ingram Scholar at Vanderbilt, Wallin receives full tuition and
stipends for special summer projects in exchange for devoting around 20
hours each month during the academic year and at least one summer to
performing community service. This summer, the Ingram Scholarship will
allow her to travel to Tanzania, where she will serve as an outreach
coordinator for the Roots & Shoots program at the Jane Goodall
Institute in Dar es Salaam.

Wallin describes Roots & Shoots as “a platform to dialogue with
young people around the region on the meaning of compassionate, engaged
lifestyle choices.” The program‘s mission is “to foster respect and
compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all
cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to
make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.”

Wallin called working with Jane Goodall “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“Dr. Goodall has dedicated her life to restoring the delicate balance
between humans and the creatures with which they share the earth,” she
said.

Goodall first went to Tanzania in 1960 to study chimpanzees in the wild
and has since gained international renown for dedicating her life to
wildlife research, education and conservation.

Before departing for Africa, Wallin will assemble with the other 2005
Truman Scholars May 15 for a week-long leadership development program
at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. The Truman Scholarship,
awarded to college juniors with exceptional leadership potential and a
commitment to government or other public service, was established in
1975 as a federal memorial to America‘s 33rd president. Each
scholarship is valued at $30,000 ñ $3,000 for the student‘s senior year
and $27,000 for graduate school. The Truman Scholars will receive their
awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence,
Mo., on May 22.

“Star represents all the qualities which the Truman Scholarship is
designed to honor,” said Tom Schwartz, Vanderbilt professor of history
and head of the university‘s Truman Scholarship selection
committee. “While maintaining an exemplary academic record, she
has been a leading campus activist on a host of issues, especially in
encouraging environmental awareness and initiatives. She is an
inspiration to her fellow students and the Vanderbilt faculty, a
student with a profound commitment to the public good and a future
career in public service.”

Wallin will receive $5,000 from the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and
Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation, which awards
merit-based scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who have
demonstrated outstanding potential and a commitment to pursuing careers
related to the environment. The scholarship was authorized by Congress
in 1992 to honor former Arizona Congressman Morris Udall‘s legacy of
public service. She will assemble with the 2005 Udall Scholars Aug.
10-14 in Tucson, Ariz., where they will receive their awards and meet
with policy makers and community leaders in environmental fields,
Native American tribal health care and governance.

At Vanderbilt, Wallin has been actively involved with Students
Promoting Environmental Awareness and Recycling (SPEAR) and the
Wilskills Outdoor Education Program. After graduation, she plans to
pursue a graduate degree in public policy as well as a law degree.

Media contact: Kara Furlong, (615) 322-2706
kara.c.furlong@vanderbilt.edu

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