UM Student Wins Prestigious Truman Scholarship

April 16, 2014

MISSOULA – University of Montana student Mara Menahan has won a Truman Scholarship, a prestigious national award that provides top U.S. university student leaders up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school.

Truman Scholars are selected on the basis of leadership achievements and potential in public service. Menahan, a Davidson Honors College student who majors in environmental studies and geography with minors in climate change studies and wilderness studies, is the University’s 14th Truman Scholar.

Fifty-nine students were selected as 2014 Truman Scholars out of 655 candidates from nearly 300 colleges and universities. On top of the $30,000 scholarship, Truman Scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, as well as leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities with the federal government.

According to the Truman Foundation, the scholarship is firmly rooted in former U.S. President Harry Truman’s belief that education promotes the general welfare of our country. The scholarship remains committed to encouraging future “change agents” of America. Many Truman Scholars go on to serve in public office or as leaders of nonprofit organizations and educators.

Menahan is a graduate of Helena High School and the daughter of Mike Menahan and Stacy Tureck of Helena. She plans to fight climate change by addressing urban sprawl through the open-space planning process.

“Mara has been a stand-out student at UM since her freshman year,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. “Her broad range of experience and commitment to environmental causes both on and off campus highlight her potential as an innovative leader and thinker who will no doubt achieve great things.”

Menahan’s passionate and professional leadership in a variety of campus and community activities helped her achieve the award. She has been a leader at the UM FLAT –Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology; served as the only undergraduate on the university’s delegation to the UN 2013 Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland; participated in the Bhutan Ride for Climate; served as a moderator for the Community Climate Summit; completed an internship with Montana Audubon to develop visual communication tools to explain the hazards of climate change to the bird population; and interned as a wilderness ranger with the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation. She also served as vice president and women’s captain of the UM Cycling Team.

“The environmental planning to which Mara has dedicated herself requires a broad range of skills – from the scientific to the artistic, from solitary work to complex collaboration across political parties and jurisdictions,” said Laure Pengelly Drake, director of external scholarships and advising in the UM Davidson Honors College. “Mara is an exceptionally talented and enthusiastic student.”

The 2014 Truman Scholars will gather for a leadership development program May 22 at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. They will receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., on May 25.

For a listing of the 2014 Truman Scholars and more information on the program, visit



Contact: Laure Pengelly Drake, director of external scholarships and advising, UM Davidson Honors College, 406-243-6140,