Campus News

UK Junior Hadeel Abdallah Named Truman Scholar

See how UK Truman Scholar Hadeel Abdallah learned about her scholarship from UK President Eli Capilouto.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 12, 2018) The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that political science and Arabic and Islamic studies junior Hadeel Abdallah, of Lexington, has been named a 2018 Truman Scholar and will receive $30,000 to support her graduate study. Abdallah is the 14th UK student to receive the honor from the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

The Truman Scholarships are national awards presented to college juniors who demonstrate outstanding leadership and are devoted to careers in public service. Recipients of the award are required to work in public service at least three of the seven years following completion of their graduate program.

Beyond the scholarship funding, scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

A recipient of both the Chellgren Fellowship and the Gaines Fellowship, Hadeel Abdallah has been very active at UK inside and outside of the classroom. She has previously served as the president of the Muslim Student Association and as director of inclusion and outreach for the Student Government Association. She was also national outreach director for the Muslim Youth of North America.

In addition, Abdallah demonstrated her interest in working in public service by interning in the Office of the Lexington Vice Mayor and the Washington, D.C., office for U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas during her undergraduate years.

With a passion for studying policies that affect refugees and immigrants, Abdallah would like to use her Truman Scholarship to pursue studies in public policy and law earning both a doctoral degree and a juris doctor. 

Abdallah will join this year’s other 58 scholars from across the nation for a week of programming and a special awards ceremony in May at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.

This evening to honor all UK student recipients of state, regional and national awards, including Abdallah’s Truman Scholarship, the university will light several buildings in special blue lighting beginning at dusk.

More than 750 candidates for the Truman Scholarship were nominated by 311 different colleges and universities this year, a record number of institutions. Sixteen regional selection panels, which typically include a combination of university presidents, federal judges, distinguished public servants and past Truman Scholars, interviewed the 194 finalists. A complete listing of the 2018 Truman Scholars is available online at

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the 33rd president. The foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Activities of the foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury. As of 2017, there have been 3,139 Truman Scholars selected since the foundation began.

Students interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. Part of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Student and Academic Life at UK, the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with Whitlow well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

UK is among a select group of universities and colleges named Truman Honor Institutions for active encouragement of outstanding young people to pursue careers in public service; effective promotion of the Truman program on campus; and sustained success in helping students win Truman Scholarships.

photo of Hadeel Abdallah seated in class
photo of Hadeel Abdallah and Capilouto in front of chalkboard
photo of administrators, faculty and mentors with Hadeel Abdallah in front of chalkboad
photo of Capilouto and Hadeel Abdallah holding her cellphone

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue