UO junior selected as finalist for Truman Scholarship

Headshot of Abdirahim Mohamoud

Abdirahim Mohamoud, a UO junior majoring in Political Science, has been chosen as a finalist for the highly competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Every year, the Harry S. Truman Foundation awards prestigious scholarships to roughly 60 college students across the country who have demonstrated leadership in public service. The awards provide students with up to $30,000 in funding for graduate study in a field of their choosing in pursuit of a career serving the public. Around 800 students apply for the scholarships every year.

Mohamoud, a first-generation college student whose family arrived in the U.S. as refugees from Somalia, grew up in Oregon and graduated from Tigard High School. He spent two years at Howard University in Washington, D.C., before transferring to UO last summer.

Mohamoud’s civic engagement began as a high school student when, after facing racist epithets and jokes, he worked to develop a restorative hate speech and bias incident policy that was adopted and implemented by his school district. While at Howard, he was involved in a major sit-in to protest living conditions in student residence halls that went viral on social media, garnering significant national attention and support from prominent politicians.

His interest in politics extends beyond the classroom: he has interned for U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Oregon state Rep. Kayse Jama. He was elected as president of the UO’s College Democrats last year and has worked to revive the statewide organization. 

Mohamoud has a passion for social justice and serving marginalized communities: at Howard, he worked with Youth Justice Advocates to regularly visit and mentor four incarcerated teenagers.

He hopes to attend law school at Georgetown University and pursue Public Interest Law. He also dreams of one day running to become mayor of Tigard, his adopted home.

“I am motivated by a deep-seated calling to improve the world around me,” Mohamoud wrote in his Truman application. “I have done it in high school, I have done it in college, I will do it in law school, and I will continue it for the rest of my life. Upon completing my graduate studies, I envision a position where I can actively contribute to shaping policy, creating a more inclusive legal environment, and challenging systems of injustice.”

Mohamoud was assisted throughout the application and endorsement process by the Office of Distinguished Scholarships, which provides comprehensive advising and guidance to UO students and recent alumni who wish to apply for competitive national and international scholarships and fellowships.

Mohamoud will travel to Seattle on March 5 and 6 for his finalist interview. His travel costs will be covered through donor funds from the 
Undergraduate Research and Distinguished Scholarships Impact Fund


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