Our undergraduate advisor, Dr. Karen Redfield, reached out to DeShawn McKinney (who is currently studying abroad in Japan) and asked him to reflect on winning the Truman Scholarship. DeShawn’s reflection is printed below:
I feel incredibly humbled by the award. I initially didn’t believe it possible for someone like me to become a Truman scholar; traditionally and historically spaces and communities like it have been closed off from the identities I hold and labels imposed upon me – poor, Black, inner city – so it felt like I was infiltrating, or trying to. Step by step in the process it started to feel real, then possible, then probable, and when I got it I was taken aback a bit. The award is not for me, I’ve never looked at it that way, and that’s not why I applied. I didn’t win the Truman, First Wave just won the Truman. PEOPLE did, Milwaukee did.