Rana Thabata wins Truman Scholarship

Rana+Thabata+finds+out+she+was+one+of+62+winners+of+the+prestigious+Truman+Scholarship+in+her+business+class.+Tetlow%2C+a+former+Truman+fellow+herself%2C+came+to+her+class+with+balloons+to+announce+Thabta%E2%80%99s+win.+Photo+credit%3A+Kyle+Encar
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Rana Thabata wins Truman Scholarship

Rana Thabata finds out she was one of 62 winners of the prestigious Truman Scholarship in her business class. Tetlow, a former Truman fellow herself, came to her class with balloons to announce Thabta’s win. Photo credit: Kyle Encar

Rana Thabata finds out she was one of 62 winners of the prestigious Truman Scholarship in her business class. Tetlow, a former Truman fellow herself, came to her class with balloons to announce Thabta’s win. Photo credit: Kyle Encar

KYLE ENCAR

Rana Thabata finds out she was one of 62 winners of the prestigious Truman Scholarship in her business class. Tetlow, a former Truman fellow herself, came to her class with balloons to announce Thabta’s win. Photo credit: Kyle Encar

KYLE ENCAR

KYLE ENCAR

Rana Thabata finds out she was one of 62 winners of the prestigious Truman Scholarship in her business class. Tetlow, a former Truman fellow herself, came to her class with balloons to announce Thabta’s win. Photo credit: Kyle Encar

Kellie Sanchez

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“I’m going to be late to con law!”

That was the first thought that ran through political science junior Rana Thabata’s mind the morning she found out she was the winner of a Truman Scholarship. She barely made it to her 9:30 class, tired after getting back from a conference the night before. An email from her professor had said that the class was worth 20 points because President Tania Tetlow was scheduled to speak to the class. Thabata thought the talk would be about the economics department and did not immediately notice when Tetlow walked in with maroon and gold balloons. When Tetlow got up to speak to the class, she announced that Thabata was one of just 62 recipients in the country of a Truman Scholarship.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of an award like the Truman Scholarship,” business analytics senior Rebecca Driever, who worked with Thabata in SGA, said. “Everything she has done has been about making sure each student at Loyola has the resources necessary to thrive not only as an individual but also as a citizen.”

In addition to her efforts on campus Thabata has been a part of education-focused internships and projects. With the goal of one day writing education policy, she interned with the Orleans Parish School Board and 4.0 Schools, where she started an after-school program to help low-income students get scholarships to fund their higher education.

“Her actions aren’t just a front or a resume builder,” Driever said, “she truly cares about everyone.”

Thabata is the first female student from Loyola to win the Truman Scholarship, and the first Loyola student to win at all in 31 years.

“I’m not a Truman Scholar without Loyola,” Thabata said, “I really want this to be about Loyola.”

The scholarship is designed specifically for “change agents,” those who are interested in social justice and want a career in public service. Each year Loyola is eligible to nominate up to four juniors.

The Truman Fellowship awards scholarships to students for graduate school. It is given out to students who show a deep interest in public service in their junior year of their undergraduate education.

The road to winning one of the nation’s premier scholarships began for Thabata last summer, she said. The foundation asks applicants to write a policy proposition to one of their lawmakers. Thabata, who plans to pursue a career where she can write public education policy, wrote her proposition about school resource officers and the school to prison pipeline, addressed to Governor John Bel Edwards.

From August to December, Thabata refined and polished her application. To have a truly competitive application, Jason Ezell, an instruction and Research coordinator, recommends starting the application at the end of your sophomore year or August of junior year.

After the written application comes the in-person interview. The process was intimidating to Thabata, so she researched the people who would be interviewing her beforehand, and scheduled a mock interview with the help of Ezell.

When Tetlow came to her class to announce that she got the scholarship, it was hard to accept the fact that she won, Thabata said.

This summer, Thabata will be interning at the U.S. State Department in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She is already thinking about where she wants to go after graduating from Loyola in order to persue her masters in public policy.

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