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Student Aaron Wingad named Truman Scholar

RELEASED: April 7, 2010

Aaron Wingad
Aaron Wingad

EAU CLAIRE — Aaron Wingad, a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, has been named a 2010 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

Wingad, a Rice Lake native who currently serves on the UW System Board of Regents, is believed to be the first UW-Eau Claire student to receive the prestigious award.

"I`m honored to be a 2010 Truman Scholar," said Wingad. "Not only will this scholarship help me fulfill my educational dreams, it also will connect me with a dynamic community of students and citizens who are just as passionate as I am to make a difference in the world. Through this network of people, I'll learn from and draw on the best of my peers as I prepare for a profession in public health."

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as a memorial to the 33rd U.S. president. The foundation awards scholarships for students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the foundation are supported by a trust fund in the U.S. Treasury.

Sixty students from 54 U.S. colleges and universities were selected as 2010 Truman Scholars. They were elected by 16 selection panels on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of making a difference.

The scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internships within the federal government.

"We're thrilled that Aaron has received this prestigious honor, which recognizes the many exceptional things he has done during his years on our campus as well as his potential for doing great things in the future," UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich said. "Aaron has made the most of the many opportunities we offer our students. He's done very well in the classroom, but also developed his leadership skills and pursued his many interests and passions. We're proud that one of our students has been honored in this way."

Wingad said his work as a regent has challenged him to develop his leadership skills and given him experience dealing with complex issues.

"My first responsibility, and one of the most challenging on the Board of Regents, was voting on the entire $5 billion budget for UW System," Wingad said. "During my time on the board, I've learned how to work with people from many different backgrounds and experience levels to make good decisions for Wisconsin. Ive learned how to take my ideas and work with others to produce better results than I could on my own."

In addition to his work as a regent, Wingad has served in numerous leadership positions at UW-Eau Claire. He was director of the Student Academic Affairs Commission, a student senator, a member of several administrative search committees, co-founder and president of the student organization PHD: Progress on Health Disparities, a teaching and research assistant, and a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee. He has been active in community and civic activities, including volunteering at the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic and in health clinics in rural areas in Mexico.

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Wingad hopes to pursue a doctorate in public health policy with an emphasis on disparities in health outcomes. He also plans to earn a medical degree with a specialization in public health.

"This combination will allow me to obtain a medically informed perspective on the health policy reform I hope to help shape," Wingad said of his plans for the future. "There are many ways to start a career in public health that can lead to shaping health policy. I first will look for positions where I can get practical experience developing health care policy. Eventually, I want to use those experiences to have a larger, more direct impact on health policy."

The 60 students named 2010 Truman Scholars were selected from among 576 candidates nominated by 245 colleges and universities. Generally there is one scholar from each state and an at-large scholar from each multi-state region. Panels that elect the scholars typically include a university president, federal judge, distinguished public servant and past Truman winner.

There have been 2,730 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977.

The 2010 Truman Scholars will meet May 25 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Missouri. They will receive their awards in a May 30 ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo.

For a list of 2010 Scholars, see http://truman.gov/meet-our-scholars.

You can reach Aaron Wingad at wingadad@uwec.edu.

-30-

JB/JP

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