May 24, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 17

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    Third-year wins Truman Scholarship

    By Vanessa Raizberg
    News Office

    Sean Campbell
    Established in 1975, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created as an official federal memorial to the 33rd President in honor of his resolution toward supporting public service causes. College third-year Sean Campbell was one of 80 students named a 2001 Truman scholar. Winners are selected based on leadership, intellectual might and the likelihood of “making a difference” in the world through work in a public service field.

    Campbell, who is currently concentrating in history, intends to use his $30,000 award to pursue a master’s degree in public policy, with a concentration in urban policy studies. Campbell aspires to be a policy analyst or an adviser to the mayor of a large city as well as work with urban advocacy groups.

    Already he has interned in the Mayor’s Office of the City of Chicago, worked as a journalist for Streetwise newspaper and managed an ice cream parlor. He also has been a strong leader and participant in the University Debate Society and the Chicago Model United Nations Team. Campbell’s leadership skills and love for public service also are evident in the time he commits to such community service activities as volunteering at the Learning Center at Holy Trinity Church.

    Pamela Bozeman, Assistant Director of the University Community Service Center, is impressed with Campbell’s dedication. “He is an exemplary student, worker and public servant. At this stage in his academic career, Sean has excelled beyond most of his University peers. He has done this without losing sight of his personal growth and commitment to public service,” noted Bozeman.

    Campbell said he realized he wanted to help others through public service while people watching in New York City. It occurred to him, he said, that all people should have the privileges he has been so lucky to have. “I can list a dozen reasons why I should be in public service: My sense of the magnitude of the world’s problems; my belief that the privileges that I’ve had in my life oblige me to devote myself to extending those privileges to others; and the idea that my life shouldn’t be devoted to only ensuring my own personal comfort,” said Campbell.

    Campbell hopes to accomplish his work through policies that would target urban poverty and promote “the coming together of people in society.” For his policy proposal, a requirement of the Truman scholarship application, Campbell focused on public housing reforms in Chicago.

    His internship at the Mayor’s office has helped Campbell focus his career aspirations, while learning about policy implementation in his course work. David Daskal, an assistant to the Mayor, is also optimistic about Campbell’s potential for public service work. “As a supervisor, I appreciate people who can think and act independently. Sean is such a person. He asks the right questions. His research is thorough, and his writing skills are impressive,” said Daskal.

    Campbell hopes to accomplish many of his goals through graduate work, which he plans to pursue at Harvard or Columbia University. “In the course of my studies, I hope to acquire the general tools and skills necessary for rigorous analysis of programs for the alleviation of urban poverty and to satisfy my particular interest in housing issues,” Campbell wrote in his scholarship application.

    One of his University teachers, Prasenjit Duara, Professor in History, was aware of Campbell’s intellectual prowess and genuine love of learning in the classroom. “It was clear to me in the first week, from his ability to digest and enjoy difficult readings and his ability to grasp the point of the course and develop his own insights from the frontier perspective, that I had an exceptionally able and sympathetic student.”

    As the University’s 16th Truman scholar, Campbell has felt nothing but elation for his future plans. “I’m really excited, and it has opened up the way I feel about my options for what I can do after college. It really says a lot about what I may have the potential to do. I’m just really happy. It’s great.”