Stephanie Spangler ('12C)

Award: Truman Scholarship

Award will support: Master’s of Education

Undergraduate major(s): History; Sociology (highest honors)

Currently: Teaching fourth grade at Tubman Elementary School in Washington, DC, and serving as a Teach Plus Policy Fellow

While at Emory, Stephanie founded and served as the inaugural Chair of Volunteer Council, served as Vice President of Administration for College Council, and served as President of Emory Reads. She was also a Jumpstart AmeriCorps Member, a Girls Incorporated volunteer, a Children’s Leadership Council Advocate, a volunteer and tutor at several elementary schools, and an Educational Policy Intern at Voices for America’s Children. Stephanie was an Emory Scholar, and a recipient of the General Dynamics and Boozer Noether Scholarships, and was recognized through the We Are Emory 100 Community Builders and Scholarly Inquiry and Research at Emory Best Social Science Research Project awards.

Stephanie was featured in the NS&FP Spring 2015 newsletter.

Q: What experiences at Emory prepared you for the Truman?

A: The opportunities to engage within and beyond the Emory community were essential to my preparation for the Truman Scholarship. During my time at Emory, I participated in Jumpstart and the Community Building and Social Change Fellowship. Both of those programs allowed me to develop my interest in education and community development in the Atlanta community. I also took classes that provided me with an interdisciplinary understanding of poverty and education in the US. Through those courses, I connected with professors who mentored me. The combination of my academic and extracurricular opportunities prepared me well for the Truman application process.

Q: What memorable or interesting things were part of your Truman experience?

A: What surprised me most about the Truman Scholarship is the strength of the Truman Scholars network. I attended the Truman Scholars Leadership Week, and spent the summer after graduation living with fellow Truman Scholars in Washington, DC. Through those experiences, I developed deep and lasting friendships with my fellow Truman Scholars. They remain some of my best friends several years later. I also have been connected with older Scholars in my field who have become trusted mentors.

Q: How did the Truman impact your academic/ career path?

A: The Truman Scholarship has connected me to a network of smart, passionate individuals who challenge me to be as reflective as possible about my career. That mentoring has provided me with opportunities I otherwise would not have had or considered.

Q: What advice would you give current Truman applicants?

A: Be focused. Think about one area of social change or policy that you are most passionate about. Many policy issues are complex and interconnected, but for the sake of your Truman application, you must narrow your focus to one area.

Be reflective. My favorite thing about the Truman application process was that it forced me to really think about myself, my work, and what I wanted to do in the future. You need to start the application process early and view writing the essays as an opportunity to do some serious reflection.

Be authentic. The Truman Scholarship is for a very specific type of person. If you do not believe that you want to work in public service for the majority of your career, this scholarship is not a good fit for you. Be honest with yourself about that.