Duck named as a finalist for the Harry S. Truman scholarship

For the second year in a row, a Duck has been named a finalist for a prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Sravya Tadepalli, a Clark Honors College junior majoring in political science and journalism, was among the 194 students nationwide, out of 756 applicants, who made the exclusive list.

“I was kind of surprised I got it,” Tadepalli said of being on the finalist list. “To be considered in same batch of these people is quite an honor.”

“I wasn't surprised, because Sravya is such a strong candidate,” said Dan Tichenor, a political science professor and senior faculty fellow in the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. He worked with her as a Wayne Morse Scholar, which requires students to have demonstrated academic excellence, notable service experience and a strong interest in public affairs.

“She exemplifies the Truman Scholarship's emphasis on both academic distinction and real-world activism and leadership,” Tichenor said. “Her public-oriented activities and experiences outside the classroom are as remarkable as her exceptional performance as a student.”

Tadepalli did an internship at the Hindu American Foundation in Washington, D.C., where she trained to teach about Hinduism. She put that to use in Oregon as a Dharma Ambassador volunteer, visiting classrooms to teach about Hinduism and addressing stereotypes and misconceptions about the faith.  

She will head to Jordan next fall for advanced research on barriers to and opportunities for Jordanian social and political reform. She also works at the campus radio station KWVA, belongs to the UNESCO Crossings Institute for Conflict-Sensitive Reporting and Intercultural Dialogue, and will travel to Ghana in May for World Press Freedom Day.

On top of all that, Tadepalli also wrote a play, “The Fruit Stand,” that won the University Theatre’s New Voices! playwriting contest. The play is based on a fictional conversation between Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina; her assistant; and two South Carolina legislative leaders, one of whom is African-American and the other white, about how to respond to the Charleston, South Carolina, church shootings where nine African-Americans were killed.

Winners of the Truman scholarship are awarded $30,000 to be applied toward graduate studies in preparation for careers in government or other areas of public service.

After graduating from the UO, Tadepalli plans to work on foreign policy, either in political development or national security, to narrow down what field she’d want to pursue in graduate school.

Tadepalli follows fellow Duck Manju Bangalore, who was named a Truman finalist last year. Eight Ducks have won the scholarship, the last coming in 2014.

The scholars will be named April 12.

By Jim Murez, University Communications