Three to Vie for Coveted Truman Scholarship

head and shoulder images of three college students

Rhodes’  Postgraduate Scholarship Committee is endorsing three juniors to compete for the 2019 Truman Scholarship, the premier graduate fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. They are Adam Cruthirds and Tony Eskridge, both from Memphis, TN, and William “Alex” Schramkowski from Brentwood, TN.

In 1975, the Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress as a federal memorial to the 33rd president, Harry S. Truman. It provides up to $30,000 to apply toward graduate study in the U.S. or abroad in a wide variety of fields. 

“If awarded the Truman Scholarship, I would pursue a law degree to prepare for a career of public service, with the goal of being in politics,” says Cruthirds, a political science major and a member of the Rhodes Activities Board and Rhodes College Diplomats.

Cruthirds is the founder of a fundraising team called Adam’s Army that has raised nearly $700,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he underwent chemotherapy treatment for leukemia. At Rhodes, he serves as an executive member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and a Green Dot Bystander Intervention program representative, and he is a Clarence Day Scholar dedicated to making a positive impact on Memphis through community service. 

Eskridge also is a Clarence Day Scholar, in addition to serving as chairman of the Class Council and a student mentor in the First-Year Seminar and Serving Our Students (SOS) programs. As a 2018 Summer Service Fellow, he learned firsthand the complexity of urban planning while working for BLDG Memphis. Eskridge, who is majoring in urban studies, says, “After completion of my undergraduate education, I will pursue a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in urban development. I aspire to have a career in community development and neighborhood reinvestment.”

Schramkowski is an international studies major and a member of the Sigma Iota Rho international studies honor society. He worked in Cape Town, South Africa, the summer of 2018 as a Mertie W. Buckman International Intern, and he has worked as a communications student associate in Career Services since his sophomore year. As a leader on campus, Schramkowski has held offices in the Rhodes Student Senate, Rhodes College Republicans, and on the Tennessee College Republican Committee.

“My hope is that, if awarded the Truman scholarship, I could continue my education and pursue a J.D.,” says Schramkowski. “I’m passionate about addressing issues and being a part of the public policy process as well, including working in international relations, adoption policy, and more.”

Truman Scholars will be announced in April 2019.