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UW Student From Evanston Named Truman Scholar

March 26, 2009
Rey Fuentes was selected to receive a Truman Scholarship.

Rey Fuentes of Evanston, a University of Wyoming junior in political science and religious studies, is one of 60 students from 55 colleges nationwide selected as 2009 Truman Scholars.

He was selected from among 194 finalists nominated by 136 U.S. colleges and universities. More than 600 applicants were screened, representing 289 institutions The recipients were elected by 17 independent selection panels on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of "making a difference."

Each Truman Scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Since 1977, 2,670 students nationwide have received the scholarship.

A 2006 graduate and honor student at Evanston High School, Rey is the son of Camie and Alvaro Fuentes of Evanston. He credits his parents for stressing the importance of higher education. He and his brother, Rolando, who attends college in Idaho, are the first members of their family to attend college. Their younger sister, Yolanda, will attend UW this fall.

"Our parents expected each one of us to go to college," Fuentes says.

And there was no doubt in his mind that he wanted to stay in-state and attend UW, partly because of the Hathaway Scholarship, which allows Wyoming high school students to attend either UW or one of the state's seven community colleges.

"I live in Wyoming and I wanted to stay here. I like the people of the state and I am glad that I came to UW. I really do enjoy the classes that I've taken," he says.

"Truman Scholarships are designated for students committed to a career in public service, and nothing could better describe Rey. He is deeply interested in the political process and volunteered all of his time last fall to help coordinate a campaign," say Duncan Harris UW Honors Program director. "Rey also served as an intern in the Wyoming State Legislature. Personally, he is as bright as they come, articulate and very well read."

Congress in 1975 established the Truman Scholarship Foundation as the federal memorial to President Harry Truman. The Foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school to prepare for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The foundation's activities are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury.

Fuentes' foray into public service led him to taking a semester off from his UW studies to manage U.S. congressional candidate Gary Trauner's Rock Springs office.

"It was a great experience and I got to meet a lot of people around the state. I managed to travel and campaign in all but two Wyoming counties," Fuentes says. "I would stress to any UW student that is even partially interested in the political process to become involved. If you don't get involved, no one listens to you. And that's why I want to be involved in public service."

During the recently completed Wyoming legislative session, Fuentes served as a student intern and worked closely with several legislators. He currently is campaigning for president of the Associated Students of UW, the student government body.

Fuentes says he plans to pursue a career in the public sector and his ultimate goal is to possibly run for public office. He is in the process of applying for graduate school in public administration at either the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin or Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

He joins 13 other UW students who have won this award since 1977.

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009

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