Alexis Taitel won the prestigious award based on her leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of “making a difference.” She is the eighth OU student to be honored with the national award since 2003 and the 13th since the scholarship began in 1977.
“We are extremely proud of the award of a Truman Scholarship to Alexis Taitel,” said OU President David L. Boren. “She demonstrates the qualities of leadership and moral courage which the scholarship seeks to honor.”
Truman Scholarship recipients must be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector. Each scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study.
Taitel holds a 3.88 grade-point average and is pursuing concurrent Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in International Studies, with a minor in Social Justice. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in either public policy or public administration at the University of California, Berkeley, or Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Taitel initially hopes to work for a nonprofit, such as the Polaris Project, which assists vulnerable populations, in particular sex trafficking victims. Ultimately, she hopes to direct an anti-trafficking, nonprofit organization with an emphasis on the after-care of victims. She will study at Kyungpook University in Daegu, South Korea, this summer and then spend the fall semester at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, to complete her master’s thesis. She plans to defend her thesis and graduate Summa Cum Laude, December 2014.
Named a Cortez A.M. Ewing Scholar last year, she interned with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Office of Export Control Cooperation in Washington, D.C. There, she assisted with the planning of three international conferences and oversaw the visit of an international delegation. Impressed by her work, her supervisor invited her to serve as rapporteur, reporting on the proceedings at conferences in Doha, Qatar, in December and in Dubai in March.
Active at OU, Taitel has served as Chair of the Speakers Bureau, Vice President of Development for The Oklahoma Group, Vice President for OU Young Democrats, Vice President for OU Circle K International, and Vice Chair of the Campus Activities Council. Since May 2013 she has been an executive committee member of the Sooner Mosaic Social Justice Symposium and was the student keynote speaker at the symposium in March.
Taitel has received the International Activism Award, the Fern L. Holland Award, the Welcoming Project Scholarship, and most recently, the Letzeiser Silver Medal. Since her freshman year she has won the outstanding award for her class each year: the President’s Award for Outstanding Freshmen, the President’s Award for Outstanding Sophomores, the Regents’ Award for Outstanding Juniors, and PE-ET, the top 10 senior honor society.