Three University of Arkansas Students Named as 2012 Truman Scholarship Finalists

Left to right: Truman Scholarship finalists Mike Norton, Matt Seubert, and Grant Hodges
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Left to right: Truman Scholarship finalists Mike Norton, Matt Seubert, and Grant Hodges

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three University of Arkansas juniors — Grant Hodges of Ozark, Mo., Mike Norton of Prairie Grove and Matt Seubert of Bella Vista — have been selected as finalists for the 2012 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. All three are members of the Honors College.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation announced the finalists Friday night, Feb. 24. Their selection places Hodges, Norton and Seubert among the top students in the country. They will now join the other finalists in interviews to determine the 65 students who receive this prestigious award.  

The Truman Foundation considered 587 applications from 272 colleges and universities. The candidates had already experienced tough competitions on their own campuses as each institution is limited to four nominations. The University of Arkansas is one of the few schools to have multiple candidates chosen as finalists.

“The University of Arkansas is well represented by these three students,” said University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “We are all very proud of their many accomplishments and of their dedication in bringing about real, positive change for the campus and for their communities. They have been honored in this way because they are committed to service. The Truman Foundation selects students based on their ability to make a difference. In Grant, Mike and Matt, the foundation has selected three talented, dedicated individuals who will do just that.”

Grant Hodges is a political science major in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. He is chair of the Associated Student Government’s Senate at the university. He has been an active member of ASG since 2009, previously serving as historian and senator. Hodges has worked on four political campaigns, participating in successful bids for Mark Darr (Arkansas Lt. Governor) and John Boozman (U.S. Senate). He serves as the youngest member of the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Committee, which determines the spending of the city’s special beautification fee, and he has been an enthusiastic supporter of a relatively new trail system that now extends 37 miles across the area.

Hodges has received the Rita Snoddy Davis Access Arkansas Scholarship, reserved for the top major in the political science department. He is a research assistant for political science professor Janine Parry. 

Hodges plans to pursue a Master of Public Administration from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University. Ultimately, he wants to run for public office. Before becoming an elected public official, he hopes to serve as a political adviser on both a state and national level.

Mike Norton is a graduate of Lincoln High School and is pursuing a double major in poultry science and agricultural business through the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. He is the former president of the Arkansas Future Farmers of America Association and is serving as president of the Arkansas Collegiate Farm Bureau. He holds an office in the Associated Student Government and the Arkansas Federation of College Republicans, in addition to serving as a Bumpers College Ambassador and a guest writer for the Arkansas Traveler, the student newspaper.

In summer 2011, Norton interned with World Cocoa Foundation in Accra, Ghana, where he calculated the financial value of a training program for farmers in Ghana. This summer he plans to study at the London School of Economics. He is currently conducting honors research with professor Lanier Nalley in the agricultural economics and agribusiness department. After his undergraduate career, he hopes to attend Stanford University for a master’s degree in public policy and a doctorate in economics. Ultimately, he plans to return to Arkansas and work in nutrition economics to improve dietary conditions that lead to societal-level diabetes and obesity.

Matt Seubert is pursuing a double major of business economics in the Sam M. Walton College of Business and political science in Fulbright College.

Seubert coordinated the effort to raise more than $50,000 in cash and pledges for a week-long series of events commemorating the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. Activities included creation of a human flag at War Memorial Stadium; a “Muslims for Life” blood drive; a T-shirt sale that raised funds for the Wounded Warriors project in support of disabled veterans; a display of 3,000 flags, one for each life lost on Sept. 11, on the central quad of the University of Arkansas campus; and a candlelight vigil to dedicate the new memorial flagpole site on the Old Main lawn on Sept. 11, 2011. Seubert’s efforts brought together the campus and the state for shared moments of reflection, celebration and healing.

Seubert accomplished all of this while serving as a project leader for the City of Fayetteville, volunteering for CampusVotes, and working as a resident assistant for University Housing. He is and has been actively involved in the Associated Student Government, Young Democrats and various political campaigns. In the summer of 2010, Seubert traveled to Dangriga, Belize, to work with a women's cooperative in developing a business plan for an area restaurant and lodge.

Seubert plans to attend the University of Southern California for a dual master’s degree in urban planning and business before returning to Arkansas. He hopes to improve the quantity and quality of jobs in his home state, focusing on the Arkansas Delta. 

“That the University of Arkansas nominated three students and all three were selected as Truman finalists speaks volumes about the quality of our student body,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Their bios are impressive; their accomplishments many, and their futures bright. We could not be more pleased for them, for the university, and for the state of Arkansas.”

Each scholarship provides $30,000 to the recipient to be used toward graduate study. The application process is extensive, requiring three letters of recommendation, a nomination letter from the institution, a description of a meaningful service activity, a specific example of leadership, a problem in society that the student would like to address, as well as detailed plans for graduate school. Applicants must also present a public policy proposal.

Recent University of Arkansas Truman Scholars include Stephanie Gosnell, finance, 2002; Catherine St. Clair, international business, 2005; Dwayne Bensing, political science, 2006; and Olivia Meeks, political science and economics, 2008.

In 2002, the University of Arkansas received the Truman Honor Institution Award for its commitment to assisting students interested in a career in public service.


Suzanne McCray, director
Office of Nationally Competitive Awards

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations


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