Jamie Davies '05, who was named a Truman Scholar for her outstanding academic record and comitment to public service, teaches elementary school students in Camden, N.J.
But Powers brushes aside those accolades. “I sometimes tell my English students that they need to apply the creativity that they evince in their school work to the way they imagine their own lives. Carmen is one of several students I point to who has taken this advice to heart, which, I think, may be more about Carmen’s personality than my encouragement.”
In 2004, another Messiah student, Jamie Davies ’05, garnered a prestigious award, this time the Truman Scholarship in public service, a $26,000 merit-based grant awarded to undergraduates with outstanding academic records and a commitment to public service. She also credits Harles and other professors in the politics program with teaching her to think critically and argue analytically.“
My professor and mentor, John Harles, was extraordinary,” cites Davies. “He helped me realize my options as a politics major, encouraging me and supporting me during my internships in [Washinton] D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland, and assisting me through the scholarship application process.”
Harles saw that telltale spark in Davies, that tough-mindedness that made her one of approximately 70 Truman winners out of 700 applicants. To prepare her for the competition, Harles had Davies attend academic conferences, introduced her to his friends and acquaintances at other universities, and co-authored a journal article with her. For Davies, the application procedure was like a 3-credit course—the writing of eight essays, a personal statement, and a policy proposal, which she wrote on the topic of increased funding for child care. Harles guided her in managing her time and prepped her for the stringent interviews. Davies was studying at Oxford when Harles phoned her long-distance. He asked her if she was sitting down. Then he spoke the words she had been hoping for so long to hear: she had won.
“It was such a relief because I had worked so hard,” she recalls. “I don’t think I realized what it meant even when I won. I didn’t realize the doors it would open and how it would shape my career path.”
Wang, McCain, Davies, and other Messiah graduates have joined the ranks of some famous award-winners, including Rhodes Scholar President William J. Clinton; Fulbright Scholar Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State for President George W. Bush; and Truman Scholar George Stephanopoulos, communications director for President Clinton. Together, Messiah’s students and their mentors have helped propel Messiah College into a rarified air of excellence. While Harles likens Messiah to the “little engine that could,” Provost Randall Basinger contends that these award achievements speak volumes about the College, its mentors, and its students.
“Even if, in the end, our students do not actually win the prize, the pursuit is worth the time and effort,” says Basinger. “All of our students who participate in the pursuit of these programs are better off than if they had not tried.” And, as a result of the students’ participation in these programs, Messiah College is becoming more widely recognized as an institution that consistently produces highly capable and confident students."
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