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Student wins national Truman scholarship

May 1, 2006

Photo of Rebekah EnochRebekah Enoch has become the second SF State student to win the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, one of the most competitive, prestigious academic awards in the country.

Enoch is one of 75 winners of this year's scholarship. The Decatur, Ga., native is the only winner from any of the 23 California State University campuses. Stanford University claims the only other winner from Northern California. The others are from 61 institutions across the country, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Pennsylvania. Enoch was among 598 applicants for the scholarship from 311 institutions.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation awards $30,000 scholarships to college juniors with exceptional leadership potential and commitment to careers in government, public service or education. The scholarship funds graduate study, leadership training and fellowships.

"Rebekah Enoch's superb scholarly talent and commitment to human rights in China make her an ideal choice for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship," SF State President Robert A. Corrigan said. "Her work in the community, global focus, and dedication to intellectual accomplishment exemplify the mission and spirit of our University. I look forward to hearing more about Ms. Enoch's work as she continues to make a positive difference in the world for many years to come."

Enoch became fascinated by the culture of China when visiting the country during a yearlong honeymoon journey. She also developed concern for the human rights of Chinese citizens.

Enoch's interest in China led her to study international relations at SF State and intern with Dui Hua, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that focuses on promoting human rights in China. She also studies Mandarin and has taught art to homeless children.

Enoch, a San Francisco resident, is considering graduate school in Nanjing. She finds China attractive due to her belief that it is the "total polar opposite of U.S. history and U.S. culture."

"It's so old. It has so many cultural traditions that are observed even to present day," she said. "I've always enjoyed those things, and American culture doesn't have so much of that because it's so young."

The Truman scholarship application includes a federal public policy proposal. Enoch worked with Assistant Professor Sophie Clavier on a proposal to reform labor law that would hold transnational corporations doing business in countries such as China to the same labor standards as in the United States.

Demian M. Fitzgerald (B.S., '91), a finance major, was SF State's first Truman scholarship winner in 1988.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the 33rd president of the United States. There have been 2,480 Truman scholars since the inception of the awards.

-- Student Writer Lisa Rau with Matt Itelson


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Last modified May 4, 2006 by University Communications