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ASU Honors Student Named Truman Scholar

April 10, 2013

Sean Motl, a third-year student in Angelo State University’s Honors Program, has been named a 2013 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Foundation, and will receive a $30,000 scholarship to fund his graduate education in preparation for a career in public service.

A psychology major from Wall, Motl is completing his pre-med requirements at ASU.  He is one of only 62 Truman Scholars, and one of only three in Texas, chosen this year from a pool of 629 students nominated by 293 higher education institutions throughout the U.S. and its territories.  He is also the first ASU student to receive the designation and corresponding scholarship.

“We are very proud of Sean and all the recognition and accolades he has earned for himself, his family and the university,” said ASU President Brian J. May.  “He is truly taking full advantage of his time at Angelo State, and his being named a Truman Scholar is another great example of what our students are capable of achieving.”

The Truman Foundation’s goal is to find a new generation of leaders who will become “change agents” in public service sectors.  Nominees complete a daunting application, which includes details of their academic credentials, university activities, community service activities and motivations toward a career in public service.  They also have to choose a contemporary issue related to their career field and write a policy proposal outlining the issue and recommending actions to address the problem.  Regional finalists then interview before a five-member review panel that includes lawyers, judges and former Truman Scholars.

“When I found out the news I had won, I was ecstatic,” Motl said.  “To me, the affirmation that a panel of really successful people believes in me and my abilities to accomplish my vision for the future is so encouraging.  The Truman Scholarship will open a lot of doors for me, and one thing I’ve learned in the Honors Program is that if you see an open door, then walk through it.  I’m excited to see what the future has in store.”

“I encouraged Sean to apply,” said Dr. Shirley Eoff, Honors Program director, “because I thought that he represented the core values of the Truman Foundation:  integrity, leadership and a commitment to a career in public service.  He received the university nomination based on his outstanding academic record, exceptional leadership in university and community affairs, and a clear, cogent policy statement linked to his desire to pursue a career in international medicine and global health advocacy.”

A first-generation college student, Motl is enrolled in the ASU Honors Program curriculum with thesis option, and has a 4.0 grade point average.  He completed the Honors Program Leadership Forum in 2010 and has since participated in the program’s Community Leadership Initiative as a board member of the San Angelo Early Childhood Center and Sonrisas Therapeutic Riding.  He made a presentation on “Servant Leadership in the Local Community” at the 2012 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Boston.  He also completed a 2012 summer internship program in Rwanda with the Global Youth Connect human rights delegation, and presented a paper on the memorializing of the Rwandan genocide at the 2013 Great Plains Honors Council Conference.

A member of the Honors Student Association (HSA), Motl previously served as the organization’s webmaster and has engaged in numerous HSA community service activities, including home repair projects for Helping Hands, warehouse cleanup for the Adult Literacy Council, room renovations for the Newbridge Family Shelter, and fundraising efforts for the Children’s Advocacy Center and Healthy Families San Angelo.

Upon completing his ASU studies, Motl hopes to earn an M.D./Ph.D. in medical anthropology in preparation for work with Doctors Without Borders or a similar organization.  Eventually, he hopes to move into a policy advisory position for the U.S. State Department’s Global Health Initiative or a United Nations agency.

“I have to thank Dr. Eoff and the Honors Program,” Motl said.  “She put in so many hours helping me develop my application, and without the Honors Program, there is no way I would have had the experiences to be competitive.”

“ASU should be very proud to have a Truman Scholar,” Eoff said, “and I am delighted that he is a student in our Honors Program.  I was privileged to write the nomination letter on his behalf, and I expect that Sean will become the type of change agent the Truman Foundation is seeking.  I hope that his success encourages other students to take advantage of the opportunities available and to realize that from ASU, anything is possible.”

More information on the Truman Foundation and a complete list of 2013 Truman Scholars is available online at