Miranda Rosen ’18 was named one of 62 2017 Harry S. Truman Scholars on Wednesday, April 12. Rosen is a history major pursuing certificates in European Cultural Studies, Judaic Studies, and the History and Practice of Diplomacy from Henderson, Nev.
The Truman Scholarship is the “premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States,” and was created by Congress in 1975 as a living memorial to President Harry Truman. The scholarship is awarded to mostly college juniors, and each new scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study, as well as priority admission and extra financial aid at some graduate programs, leadership training and counseling, and access to exclusive internships within the federal government. 3,139 Truman Scholars have been named since the scholarship was first awarded in 1977, and notable Truman Scholars include Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Daily Princetonian sat down with Rosen to discuss her academic and extracurricular path at the University and her career goals.
The Daily Princetonian: What was your reaction when you learned you had won?
Miranda Rosen: I was in shock. It’s the most incredible thing. I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t really believe it. It’s my dream to be able to help people, and the Truman will greatly assist me in doing so. I learned the results on Tuesday. In order to preserve the fun of the surprise for future Princeton Truman Scholars, I will just share that I was surprised at noon, and that it was really wonderful. After I heard the news, I told my family, but I couldn’t tell my friends until at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
DP: What was the application process like?
MR: You have to go through both Princeton and a national screening. It started in September. It’s been a very long process, but a very cool process. There was a big information session, and then a number of people applied through the Princeton application. They picked around 10 to interview and four to nominate. We were interviewed by the Director of Fellowships and a series of professors. They are the best people; they have been awesome and helped me a lot with the application. We sent in the application in January, I found out in the beginning of February that I was a finalist, during spring break I went to Phoenix to be interviewed, and then I found out the results on Tuesday. It’s been this entire year.
DP: Your biography mentions that you want to be a civil rights lawyer. Have you always wanted to do that, or has your time at Princeton influenced you in that direction?
MR: I always knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t realize specifically in what way until last summer when I worked for Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the Anti-Defamation League. These internships helped me realize that civil rights law was something I was passionate about. And some courses I have taken at Princeton have assisted with that as well, such as HIS 383: The United States, 1920–1974, and HIS 361: The United States Since 1974. Specifically, in 1920–1974, you see the civil rights movement of women, African Americans, and other minority groups, and that was integral for me in understanding activism and civil rights. I wrote my JP on the National Organization for Women and how in the 1970s their women’s rights project helped create much of the landmark legislation you know today, like Roe v. Wade.
DP: Why did you choose to major in history?
MR: Because history is the best department at Princeton. (laughs) The summer after my freshman year, I went on an archaeological dig through Princeton, ART 304: Archaeology in the Field, in Greece. That experience of being able to understand and literally dig up pieces of an ancient civilization of those who came before me was very eye-opening, and made me love history. I’m just so happy; I tell everyone it’s the best department.
DP: Can you talk about the diversity work you’ve done?
MR: That’s been mainly through USG [the Undergraduate Student Government]. Through a variety of task forces and opportunities, I’ve been able to gather opinions of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds and campus groups. My sophomore year, I worked on increasing financial aid for students in eating clubs. This past year, with the Women’s Leadership Task Force [of which Rosen is the founder and chair], we just passed two resolutions, and I’ve been able to access the opinions of a variety of students. I was elected as a U-Councilor at the end of freshman year, re-elected, and am up for re-election next week.
DP: Do you want to go to law school immediately after graduation?
MR: No, I want to take a gap year. Truman has this really cool gap year program that helps set Scholars up with a federal agency. I want to take time off so I can have experience in the real world and help people, immediately. In the long run, I want to work for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which helps people who have been discriminated against in the workforce.
DP: Have you been able to meet any of the other Truman Scholars?
MR: I know four others, because they interviewed in the same region as me, and five finalists were selected from the Phoenix region. They’re awesome. I’m excited to meet everyone and become friends in May in Missouri. I think the Truman Scholarship really succeeds in making people feel like a family. I’m really excited; the people I know so far are honestly the most amazing people.
DP: What will you be doing this summer?
MR: I’ll be working at Congressional Research Services, at the Library of Congress.
DP: How has your mother’s political career affected you?
MR: My mom [Congresswoman Jacky Rosen, Nevada’s 3rd District] was recently elected this past November. Additionally, I’ve been involved in Nevada politics since I was a sophomore in high school through a variety of different ways. It’s been very insightful to be with her, and what inspires me the most was being able to talk to members of our community — and specifically this past summer, to talk to people around us and understand what is important to them.