Glick wins national scholarship

The UAA women’s basketball team may be ranked number one for NCAA Division II teams in the country, but UAA academics are not far behind. In fact, the campus is the stomping grounds for the 2009 Truman Scholarship winner: Deana Glick – an Honors College student and biological sciences major.
When Glick was awarded the scholarship a couple weeks ago, she became UAA’s fourth consecutive Truman Scholarship recipient, something that dean of the Honors College, Ronald Spatz said students should be inspired by.
“That’s pretty amazing,” Spatz said. “There are just so many opportunities at UAA.”
The Truman Scholarship is a big deal. Applicants compete on a national level with students from some of the top universities in the country. Recipients receive up to $30,000 toward their graduate studies.
Awarded by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, students are chosen based on their leadership potential, intellectual ability and motivation to make a difference.
UAA students may not think they can compete for these major awards but the fact is, they can do it and they are doing it, Spatz said.
“Our students are winning a lot of major accomplishments in all kinds of ways and they’ve been demonstrating academic excellence, research excellence and they’ve been giving back to their communities,” Spatz said.
The proof is in the past few years. Not only has a UAA student won the Truman Scholarship four consecutive years, but the university also had winners prior to their four-year streak. Spatz said the school has great pride in its students but also takes pride in the work of the university’s professors.
“We have a core of dedicated faculty which is something to be proud of as well,” Spatz said.
Glick said that she could not have won the scholarship if it not for the help of her professors who really walked her through the process and got her to think about her future.
A Washington State University transfer, Glick said she enjoys the smaller student-faculty ratio.
“I credit a lot to UAA,” Glick said. “When you first look at the [Truman Scholarship] application, it’s fairly daunting.”
After receiving her bachelor’s in biology, Glick would like to get into the WWAMI program, the medical school program through the University of Washington School of Medicine that admits students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. She is also interested in UAA’s master’s in public health program.
“I have an interest in public health policy and helping health care reform in Alaska,” Glick said. “That’s the plan for now, but we’ll see what the future has in store for me.”
One thing is for certain: the scholarship will help pave the way. The $30,000 goes towards tuition, books and other school related costs. Glick said that when she originally applied, she decided to think of the process as practice.
“It’s a little bit of a process, but it’s definitely worth it,” she said. “Each step that I got further into it, I was just so grateful for getting that one step further.”
The application process has many steps. After turning in the application to UAA, the scholarship faculty representatives and past Truman Scholarship winners hold an interview with the student to decide which, if any students should be nominated for the scholarship. If UAA selects a student to nominate, the student then goes on to the national interviews and waits to find out if they are a national finalist.
Professor James Muller, Chair of the Political Science Department and faculty representative for the Truman Scholarship, said the application process is especially valuable to students who are just starting out in college.
“One of the huge advantages of this is that it forces students to think very hard about their academic future and gets them ready for graduate school applications a whole year before they have to put them together,” Muller said.
For Alaskans especially, the process is particularly favorable. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation likes to award at least one scholarship to someone from each state every year.
“Students from Alaska have a little bit of an advantage when applying,” Muller said. “We’re in a uniquely favorable position if our nominee is a strong candidate to get it.”
But just because the odds are favorable does not mean the award is in the bag.
“Once you get nominated, it’s really up to you in the application and interview to prove you’re a good candidate and you deserve it,” Muller said.
Glick rings in as number four after UAA students Umair Iqbal in 2006, Miranda Zindel in 2007 and Candace Lewis in 2008.
This year, there were 601 candidates that were nominated by 289 institutions. Glick was one of 60 scholars chosen to receive the award.
Since 1977 when the first Truman Scholarships were handed out, the foundation has awarded 2,670 scholarships to students interested in careers related to government or public service.
Past Truman Scholars include Susan Rice (U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations), George Stephanopoulos (broadcaster and political advisor) and Luis Ubinas (president of the Ford Foundation).