Loyal Terry Named Truman Scholar

Published: April 14, 2022, by the Grinnell College Office of Communications

Loyal Terry ’23 was awarded the highly prestigious Truman Scholarship. The U.S. Congress established the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation as a living memorial to President Truman in 1975. The foundation awards merit-based graduate school scholarships to college students in their junior year who plan to pursue careers in government or the nonprofit sector. 

Loyal Terry - Truman

Truman Scholars must demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to public service, and academic excellence. Each Truman Scholar receives a scholarship worth up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, leadership training, career counseling, and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government.    

Terry, a political science and sociology double major from Valley Village, California, plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy as a Truman Scholar. “I am excited for the future,” shared Terry. “I intend on making strategic long-term change with and for marginalized people.” He seeks a graduate program curriculum that engages with society’s most complex issues, including but not limited to poverty alleviation, education policy, racial and social justice, and criminal justice. With this advanced education, he will be prepared to serve as a California State Fellow and then run for an elected position in government. 

Terry is one of 58 new Truman Scholars selected from 705 candidates nominated by 275 colleges and universities. They were recommended by 17 independent selection panels based on the finalists’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders. Regional selection panels met virtually; the panels included distinguished civic leaders, elected officials, university presidents, federal judges, and past Truman Scholarship winners.    

“It is a significant honor to be named a Truman Scholar as recognition of a person’s outstanding public service, leadership, and academic achievement,” said Ann Landstrom, assistant dean and director of global fellowships and awards at Grinnell College. “Loyal has the fortitude, passion, and commitment to impact societal change that will bridge communities, promote greater family stability, and support individual growth and belief in oneself.” 

Service to community is an integral part of Terry’s life journey, whether it is bringing community together on the Grinnell campus or interning on Capitol Hill during his off-campus study at the American University Washington Spring Semester Program. Terry currently serves as a congressional legislative intern with Representative Adam Schiff’s office, conducting policy research, writing briefing memos, and drafting constituent letters. With several internship offers, he chose this position for the genuine opportunity to serve constituents in his home district of CA-28.  

“Complacency is the end to progress, and progress is progressive,” said Terry. “[In my career,] I will continue to work for the unheard, not the unspoken, because we have never been quiet!”  

As a Grinnell student, Terry has served as a leader as part of the Black Men’s Coalition, Concerned Black Students, Grinnell College Division III football team, and The Keen Ones Project. He also serves the Student Government Association as a senator and reform committee chair, Student Affairs Judicial Council as chair, Grinnell College National Poll Advisory Board, and Title IX Advisory Board.  

For summer 2022, Terry will be a public policy and law fellow with the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at the University of California-Berkeley. In his second year, Terry was selected as a Mellon Mays Fellow and is conducting ethnography research of a financial literacy group in Los Angeles, which continues through his fourth year of college. In summer 2021, he held an internship with the Los Angeles City Council, Paul Krekorian District 2; and in fall 2021, he began a two-year apprenticeship with the Grinnell City Manager’s Office.  

Terry’s leadership, service, and intellectual merit have earned many honors: Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize (recipient in 2022 and nominee in 2021); Stennis Center for Congressional Interns Cohort of 60 (participant in spring 2022); Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Leadership Conference (participant in October 2021); Policy Memo for Los Angeles City Council (August 2021); and Public Interest Technology Presentation with Carnegie Mellon PPIA Program (July 2021). He has also been a panelist for student round tables with the Office of the Under Secretary of Education, Office of the U.S. Secretary of Education, and the Postsecondary National Policy Institute. 

“Truman has really solidified a confidence in my opportunities being endless,” said Terry. “The experiences and funding I have received from fellowships and scholarships have set a fundamental backbone to my future endeavors. I have always benefited from public service, love, and patience; and it is a blessing to be recognized for my struggle and success.” His application was supported by Patrick Inglis, assistant professor of sociology; Karla Erickson, professor of sociology; Peter Hanson, associate professor of political science; and George Drake, former Grinnell College president and professor emeritus of history.  

Additional Class of 2023 nominees selected and supported by Grinnell College were:  

  • Trinisa Fung, of Tomball, Texas, a psychology and sociology double major with a plan to pursue a master’s degree in foreign service to be a United States public diplomacy foreign service officer, using her research and language experiences to support regional and bilateral policy issues in the East Asian and Pacific region.  
  • Kayley Rönnkvist, of St. Peter, Minnesota, a French and gender, women’s and sexuality studies double major with a plan to pursue a law degree to conduct policy research and serve as an advocate for elder health care and housing equity, specifically for LGBTQ older adults in rural areas.  
  • Aaron Yost, of Holland, Michigan, a political science major with a plan to pursue a master’s degree in political communication to strengthen political party constituent communication and develop stronger inter-partisan relationships. 

Grinnell College is allowed to put forward four nominees for the Truman Scholarship each year. Students of all disciplines with an intention to pursue graduate study and work in public service are encouraged to apply for campus nomination in the spring semester of their second year. The nominees form a cohort to complete their foundation applications in a seminar format in the fall semester of their third year for early spring semester submission.  

The Truman Scholarship carries the legacy of our 33rd president by supporting and inspiring the next generation of public service leaders. When approached by a bipartisan group of admirers near the end of his life, President Truman embodied this commitment to the future of public service by asking Congress to create a living memorial devoted to this purpose, rather than a traditional brick-and-mortar monument. For more than 40 years, the Truman Foundation has fulfilled that mission, inspiring and supporting Americans from diverse backgrounds to public service. The 58 awardees in 2022 join a community of 3,442 Truman Scholars named since the first awards in 1977. 

By Ann Landstrom
Ann Landstrom Assistant Dean & Director of Global Fellowships & Awards