Friday, December 8, 2023

UTSA honors student Margot Duque selected as 2023 Truman Scholar

UTSA honors student Margot Duque selected as 2023 Truman Scholar

APRIL 12, 2023 — Margot Duque, a third-year UTSA Honors College student majoring in public administration and policy and minoring in French, has been named a 2023 Truman Scholar. She is one of only 62 students selected nationwide out of 705 applicants from 275 institutions. Duque is the third UTSA student to earn this prestigious honor.

The competitive scholarship, established in 1977 by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, recognizes the nation’s most promising students who will pursue careers as public service leaders.

A San Antonio native, Duque is part of the UTSA Top Scholar program, a four-year, merit-based scholar program that selects 10 students per year to develop as servant leaders. She came to UTSA after spending a year abroad in Belgium during her senior year of high school as part of Rotary Youth Exchange. Her experience in Belgium exposed her to education disparities in the U.S., not by observing education systems in Europe but rather through interactions with other American exchange students who came from a diverse variety of backgrounds. This led to Duque’s interest in careers in education policy, where she wants to address gaps in quality of life and educational attainment through quality public education.

“Her selection as a Truman Scholar reflects her hard work and sophisticated approaches. We are so proud of what Margot represents.”

“When one of my mentors, Kristi Meyer, first encouraged me to think about applying for Truman, I wasn’t even sure if graduate school was the right option for me,” Duque said. “I realized early in my junior year that I was going to need more education to develop the kinds of skills that would best help me to serve students and their families. Now that I’ve been selected as a Truman Scholar, I’ll not only be able to use my graduate degree to make change for students, but also utilize the Truman Scholar network and opportunities to be a true servant leader in my community.”

As a Truman Scholar, Duque will receive up to $30,000 to support her graduate studies. She will also have the opportunity to participate in the foundation’s special advising opportunities, including the Washington Summer Institute, where students intern at a nonprofit or federal agency and network with leading public servants. After she graduates from UTSA in 2023, Duque plans to teach at a public school through the Teach for America program then apply to graduate programs in applied economics and public policy.

This summer, the UTSA undergraduate will study at the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University as part of the competitive Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute. The program provides a springboard into a graduate degree in public policy, with a rigorous curriculum designed to sharpen students’ analytical skills. Carnegie Mellon University offers the opportunity to earn a full-tuition scholarship for students interested in using data analytics to address societal problems along leading research centers.

During her three years at UTSA, Duque has interned with the SAISD Foundation, organizing book drives for underfunded schools. She also served as a City of San Antonio Ambassador in the office of District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez. Following her time in the councilman’s office, she worked with the regional economic development organization greater:SATX to assist in launching a college internship program for first-generation college students. Each weekend, Duque teaches French classes at the International School of San Antonio. Through all these activities, she has learned about the needs of her communities and how she can become a servant leader.

Kristi Meyer, assistant dean in the UTSA Honors College and director of the Top Scholar program, attests to Duque’s ability to serve others.  

“Margot has excellent emotional intelligence and a gift for working with people at a myriad of levels, from CEOs and presidents of major organizations to elected officials, intellectuals and policy makers to peers and even small children,” Meyer said. “She is perpetually positive. She demonstrates an ability to connect with people on a personal level and bring people together, which will contribute to her becoming a dynamic change maker.”


Those interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship during the 2023-2024 cycle should contact UTSA Truman Scholarship representative Andrew Chapman.

Duque is studying at Université Lyon III Jean Moulin in France this semester. Being abroad might have presented some challenges for her in-person Truman Scholarship interview, which took place in Austin in early March had it not been for the support she received from the Roadrunner community.

UTSA arranged for Duque’s travel and scheduled mock interviews with a variety of experts, including a panel of faculty within the UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy—former Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, former Schertz City Manager Mark Browne, UTSA Honors College Acting Dean Jill Fleuriet, and UTSA alumna and 2018 Truman Scholar Sanah Jivani ’19. These practice sessions helped Duque prepare to answer questions on topics in public policy and what it takes personally to be a change maker.

“Margot’s work reflects public service ideals,” said Patricia Jaramillo, professor of instruction in the UTSA Department of Public Administration. “She has shown interest in Texas’ public education system since her first year at UTSA and continues to provide innovative alternatives for addressing very complicated public policy problems. Her selection as a Truman Scholar reflects her hard work and sophisticated approaches. We are so proud of what Margot represents.”

Duque is UTSA’s third Truman Scholar, following Gretchen Harting in 2002 and Jivani in 2018.

Andrew Chapman

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