UC Berkeley press release


UC Berkeley junior captures Truman Scholarship awarded those likely "to make a difference"

by Marie Felde

Berkeley -- Hong Lin, a 20-year-old junior at the University of California at Berkeley, has been awarded a 1997 Truman Scholarship based on leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of "making a difference."

Lin is among 69 scholars selected from 7,171 candidates nominated by 369 colleges and universities. Each scholarship provides $30,000 -- $3,000 for their senior year and $27,000 for graduate study.

A rhetoric major with a minor in public policy, Lin has 3.7 grade point average and is involved in a variety of educational and public service activities.

Among other activities, he is currently a research apprentice for a professor writing a book on sex education, an undergraduate student instructor at San Quentin state penitentiary, a member of the Cal boxing team and a research associate with the Institute of Urban and Regional Development matching community needs to UC Berkeley faculty research.

Lin, whose hometown is Pasadena, Calif., said that while many might consider him a serious student, he prefers to describe himself as an "enthused student," more interested in following his desires and interests than in focusing on his grades.

He said he became interested in rhetoric after he struggled early in his UC Berkeley career sorting out what he was interested in versus "the unstated assumptions" others held about what he would do with his life.

"Rhetoric is really about problem solving and getting past the assumptions and preconceived notions that limit your thinking," he said.

He sees his future, following graduate school, involved first in addressing Asian American community issues. Then, he said, "I hope to participate in government at the state or federal level to bring a community perspective to their policies."

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the official federal memorial to honor the 33rd president. There have been 1,779 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977. This year's awards will be presented June 1 at the Harry S. Truman Library in Missouri.

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