Alexandria Perez — a triple major in public health, women’s and gender studies, and political science — has been named a finalist for the Nationally Distinguished Graduate Scholarship for junior college students pursuing careers as public service leaders.
SANTA CLARA, California, March 16, 2022–Junior from Santa Clara University, Alexandria Perez— a triple major in public health, feminist and gender studies, and political science — was named a finalist for the 2022 Harry S. Truman Fellowship. A nationally distinguished graduate scholarship for college juniors in the United States pursuing careers as public service leaders, the Truman Fellowship provides $30,000 for graduate study and other leadership programs designed to support recipients in their work.
“On behalf of the entire Santa Clara University community, I congratulate Alexandria on this achievement,” said interim president Lisa Kloppenberg. “During her time in Santa Clara, Alexandria demonstrated her passion for social justice, equity, inclusion, service and leadership. We are so proud that the Truman Fellowship Committee recognized her as a finalist for this prestigious award.”
An honors student, Perez excelled academically at SCU. In addition to coursework in her three majors, she is participating in a collaborative faculty-student research project with Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies Sharmila Lodhia and Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies Jesica Siham Fernández. The project, “Radical Healing: A Student Activist Participatory Action Research Zine Project for Sociopolitical Wellbeing,” aims to build a historical archive of student activism of color on campus and how it has advanced racial justice and gender.
“It’s a great honor to be selected as a Truman Scholar finalist,” said Perez. “This not only recognizes my work in public service and leadership, but also affirms my ability to be an agent of change.”
Outside of the classroom, Perez has built an exemplary record of leadership and community service. She is an Inclusive Excellence Fellow for SCU’s Division of Inclusive Excellence. She served as Co-Chair, Vice-Chair and Campus Outreach Officer for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She is part of Santa Clara University’s Athletic Diversity Leadership Team and is the General Senator for Diversity and Inclusion for SCU’s Associate Student Government. She is the co-chair and alumni relations officer of the SCU Latinx Student Union and has worked on the leadership team for new student and parent programs. She has also worked as the Food Justice Coordinator for SCU’s Forge Garden and as an Anti-Racism Book Club Facilitator for the SCU Athletic Department.
“I strongly believe that the best way to create social change is through education,” Perez said. “I hopelessly believe in the good of humanity: that we as people have the ability to be a society that embraces kindness, where empathy is shared, where equality is demanded and where compassion is constant.”
Perez is an intern for the City of San Jos Intergovernmental Relations team.starand was a founding cohort member of the Emerging Leaders Fellow Program with the United Nations Association. She is the founder of Project Literacy in her home community of East Los Angeles and co-founder of the website, The Social Justice Resource.
“Alexandria succeeds as a leader because it puts the cause first and subordinates everything it does to the goals it pursues,” said Stephen Carrol, lecturer in the Department of English and member of the committee of appointment of the SCU. “Yet at the same time, the defining trait of her leadership is that she practices cura personalis, the Jesuit expression meaning care for the whole person. She defends, she encourages, she listens deeply, she demonstrates her concern for others in everything she does.
Perez hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public policy from Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy, with a focus on gender and social policy.
“With this training, I will work to bridge the gap between academia, grassroots organization, and more formal institutions that will allow me to continually grow in my activism and public service,” Perez said, adding that she would seek working with a community think tank or as a policy analyst.
This is the third consecutive year that a Santa Clara University student has been named a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. Since the award was created in 1977, four SCU students have been named Truman Scholars: Abigail Alvarez ’22, Kim P. Olsen ’87, Janet Napolitano ’79and Dierdre Kelly ’81.
This year, the Truman Foundation Selection Committee received 705 nominations from 275 institutions. The committee chose 189 finalists from 126 institutions based on their track record of leadership, public service and academic achievement. On April 15, the foundation will name approximately 60 students as 2022 Truman Scholars.
About the Truman Fellowship
Created in 1977 by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, The Truman Scholarship is a leading graduate scholarship in the United States for those pursuing careers as leaders in public service. It provides $30,000 for graduate studies and programs to help each recipient be the best public servant possible. Past honorees include Georgian activist and politician Stacey Abrams, former US national security adviser Susan Rice, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Santa Clara’s own. Janet Napolitano ’79, former governor of Arizona, director of US Homeland Security and president of the University of California.
About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the most innovative and entrepreneurial region in the world. The University’s beautifully landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. SCU has one of the best four-year graduation rates in the country and is ranked by PayScale in the top 1% of universities with the highest paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the program combines high-tech innovation with a social conscience rooted in the tradition of Jesuit Catholic education. For more information, see www.scu.edu.
Elliot Zanger | SCU Media Communications | [email protected] | 831-524-1004