Pitt students honored with Truman Scholarships


Jocelyn Horner grew up in Pittsburgh’s North Side, on the Mexican War streets, where she… Jocelyn Horner grew up in Pittsburgh’s North Side, on the Mexican War streets, where she was exposed to many different cultures. When she was accepted to Pitt, she chose urban studies as one of her majors.

“I have always been kind of a city girl my whole life,” Horner said. “It was a great choice, and I never looked back.”

Horner was one of two Pitt students this year who received the Truman Scholarship, which provides money for undergraduate and graduate schools to students pursuing careers in public service.

Clare Sierawski also received the scholarship, and plans to help developing countries achieve sustainable development that preserves the environment.

“I never really thought about the environment until I came to college,” said Sierawski, who is pursuing majors in environmental studies, political science and East Asian languages. “I’ve always been interested in languages. Being able to communicate with people is awesome.”

The award is open to students who still have one year left of undergraduate studies, and are pursuing careers in government, nonprofit organizations or some other form of public service.

Both students are part of Pitt’s Honors College and attribute some of their success to the academic environment and good faculty support.

“It did help me to be among a community that was academically motivated,” Horner said.

According to Horner, who is also majoring in sociology, the initial application process was long, with many written portions, and took about two months to complete.

“It was very cumbersome,” Horner said.

Both students have been involved in campus organizations: Horner participated in the Campus Women’s Organization and Sierawski was one of the founding members of Panther Treks.

“What many people do not realize is that there are a lot of dedicated Pitt students working real hard to make a difference,” Sierawski said.

Not only is it rare that two students from the same school win the scholarship, but also, Horner and Sierawski are good friends who met as freshmen in a Philosophy of Film class.

“We were the only two students in our recitation actually interested in talking about the films we watched,” Sierawski said.

Both students were amazed when they won the scholarship. They were even more surprised when they found out that they were both chosen as recipients.

“I honestly couldn’t believe it when it happened. I was sort of hysterical for two days afterward,” Horner said. “It’s a great honor to have what I’ve been doing recognized by a national organization.”

For Sierawski, the experience was similar.

“I was just amazed — for both of us to share the award is a big honor,” Sierawski said. “I felt all tingly and a little bit like I was in heaven.”

Horner will use the scholarship to continue her education at Johns Hopkins University, where she’ll pursue a master’s degree in public policy. She hopes to eventually obtain her doctorate in public policy at Harvard University.

“I would like to continue in the nonprofit [sector], and working on community development,” said Horner, who wants to focus on revitalizing poor neighborhoods.

“Those communities need people to help facilitate them in making their community a better place.”

Sierawski plans to obtain her master’s degree in public administration at Princeton University, and hopes to go on to gain a doctorate in international law.

Like Horner, Sierawski plans to work in the nonprofit sector, showing that the organization is truly interested in the welfare of communities.

“The work that I am interested in is currently being carried out by nonprofit groups,” Sierawski said. “Making money hurts your credibility. The people you will be helping will be suspicious if you are trying to make money.”

When reminded that working for nonprofit groups will probably not pay as much as private sector jobs, both students were upbeat.

“If I have to sacrifice some material comforts in life to be able to work in a field that I care about, I will,” Horner said. “Having an expensive car and a nice cell phone does not mean anything if you do not like what you do.”

Sierawski also looks forward to the future and the uncertainties it holds.

“The thing about life is that you can’t plan it out.” Sierawski said. “You never know what kind of opportunities will come your way.”