by Shannon Takahashi
Congratulations to Jessica Lau for being named a 2022 Truman Scholar!
Jessica is a double major undergraduate in Human Development and Family Studies and psychology with double minors in peace studies and communicology. She was selected from a pool of more than 700 students from universities around the U.S for her dedication to public service, academic excellence, and outstanding leadership potential. In addition to national recognition, Jessica will receive $30,000 in funding for her graduate studies, as well as access to leadership training, internship opportunities, and a network of public service scholars.
“I’ve been able to reach out to so many finalists and scholars and given this wonderful community of other individuals looking to go into public service. It’s amazing to connect with all these people and I feel honored to be named a Truman Scholar,” says Jessica. “Being born and raised in Hawaiʻi, I really love the cultural diversity at UH, and it’s a blessing to be able to interact with so many people from everywhere. As a Truman Scholar, I want to raise awareness for cultural diversity and bring cultural awareness into education.”
The Truman Scholarship is the nation’s premier fellowship for up-and-coming public service leaders.
Jessica’s passion for psychology and mental health began from a young age, but her work with Project Kualima, a professional development course designed to help educators address behavioral challenges in children, inspired her interest in educational psychology. She feels it is important to systematically address issues in education using evidence-based practices and educational psych practices in order to give children the support they need to thrive in schools.
On her experience as a CTAHR student, Jessica says she feels “so happy to be a part of the CTAHR community. It’s a really amazing, supportive, loving community and provides a space for good learning opportunities to acknowledge our growth as students. I really appreciate everything that CTAHR has done for me and I’m glad to be a part of this community.”
Adds HDFS professor Loriena Yancura, “We are so proud of Jessica! She’s hard-working, intelligent, and a joy to be around– a truly worthy recipient of this prestigious reward.”