Miami University student gets prestigious scholarship

A Miami University student has won a nationally prestigious scholarship award and is the only one of two student applicants in Ohio to earn the honor this school year.

Cameron Tiefenthaler, a junior studying political science and business analytics at Miami, said she was surprised by being named one of 62 college students nationwide to become a Harry S. Truman Scholar, according to a recent announcement from officials of the Harry S. Truman Foundation.

Truman Scholars, named for the 33rd president of the United States and the scholarship is given to juniors who demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector, and academic excellence.

According to Miami officials, Tiefenthaler found out she had won one day after interviewing for the scholarship at the foundation’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

“I was just absolutely humbled and speechless,” she said of the scholarship named after America’s 33rd president.

Tiefenthaler credited Miami’s faculty members for their support throughout the process.

“Miami’s professors are truly amazing both inside and outside the classroom,” she said. “There is a long list of people who helped me get to where I am today.”

Each Truman Scholar receives funding of at least $30,000 for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling, and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government.

Nationwide, 705 college students were nominated this school year by 275 schools.

She is Miami’s first winner since 2018 and only the second since 2003.

Zeb Baker, executive director of the Miami Honors College, said the star student from Mechanicsburg, Ohio is more than deserving of the honor.

“She’s so interested in the most important part of being a citizen, which is how do you actually participate in the democratic process?” Baker said. “She’s done a fantastic job trying to encourage more voter participation among college students here at Miami.”

Tiefenthaler, who is also secretary of governmental relations for Miami’s Associated Student Government, helped convene a cross-departmental coalition on campus focused on nonpartisan efforts to encourage Miami students to vote.

Voting participation has long been a passion for Tiefenthaler, said school officials.

It led her to pursue internships at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in Washington, D.C.; with IGNITE, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helps support women as they run for office; a campaign fundraising firm in D.C.; and with the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg while she studied abroad at the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center.

“One of the things I’m proud of is my work on campus to ensure our approach to civic engagement is more intersectional,” Tiefenthaler said. “In the past, it’s been pretty separated as to which bodies on campus work on ensuring students have the resources to vote.”

Patrick Haney, director of the Miami Center for Public Management and Regional Affairs, has been at Miami since the early 1990s and worked with multiple Truman Scholars over the years. Part of what sets those recipients apart, Haney said, is a consistent dedication to public policy issues that extends beyond college.

“Cameron is really unique in the sense that she came to us with this dedication, maintained it in college, and it’s what she wants to head to next,” Haney said. “At the end of the day, to win the Truman you need that little extra something, and Cameron has that.”

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