UConn junior named Truman Scholar

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Irene Soteriou UConn CLAS Newman Civic Fellow
Irene Soteriou has been recognized as a Truman Scholar, a title given to high achieving students across the company accompanied by a scholarship. She is a sixth-semester statistics and cognitive science double major. Photo provided by Irene Soteriou.

University of Connecticut student Irene Soteriou was announced as the winner of the Truman Scholarship, a prestigious award given to high achieving students across the country. 

Soteriou, a sixth-semester statistics and cognitive science double major, was among 58 peers across the nation to be awarded the scholarship.  

For this year’s competition there were 705 candidates that applied from 275 various schools for the award, a UConn Today article said.  

Since 1986, only nine other UConn students have been named Truman Scholars. Soteriou marks the 10th. 

“Going through this intensive competition and winning the Truman has been a truly humbling experience and one from which I have learned so much,” Soteriou said in an email interview. 

“Going through this intensive competition and winning the Truman has been a truly humbling experience and one from which I have learned so much.”

Irene Soteriou, Truman Scholarship winner.

In order to apply for the Truman Scholarship, candidates must go through a rigorous process. 

“I had to write 15 essays in addition to breaking down every academic and extracurricular activity dating all the way back to high school,” Soteriou said. “I also had to craft and submit a complex policy proposal, which I chose to focus on reevaluating the standards by which the US government approves administration of foreign aid.” 

And that was not the end of it. As the selection pool shrunk, Soteriou was asked to provide additional information and take part in other tasks.   

“Once I had been selected as a Finalist, I was invited to participate in a rigorous interview with panelists including the former Governor of Massachusetts and Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis,” Soteriou said.  

Along with her demanding schoolwork, Soteriou is also a member of many clubs and organizations which she is passionate about. 

“Irene is a student activist working to support survivors of armed conflict and develop interorganizational networks and international infrastructure to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other severe violations of human rights, particularly within the Middle East,” the Truman Scholarship website said.  

“Irene is a student activist working to support survivors of armed conflict and develop interorganizational networks and international infrastructure to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other severe violations of human rights, particularly within the Middle East.”

Truman Scholar website.

Those were only some of the accomplishments and organizations listed in Soteriou’s introductory paragraph. 

Soteriou is of Cypriot descent and expressed how her nationality and racial identity has become a backbone of a lot of the work she has been inspired to become a part of.  

“As one of very few people of Cypriot descent around the world, I hope that the attention that I now receive as a result of this accolade will serve to elevate the stories of Cypriot people, who still remain displaced in their own country,” Soteriou said. 

 The Truman Scholarship is a very admirable award that highlights the hard work of students around the country. 

“Once it sunk in I was just absolutely stunned. It was definitely one of the highlights of my undergraduate experience,” Soteriou said.  

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