Three U of A Honors Students Selected as Truman Finalists

Truman Scholarship finalists (l-r) Victoria Maloch, Danielle Neighbour and Nezly Silva
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Truman Scholarship finalists (l-r) Victoria Maloch, Danielle Neighbour and Nezly Silva

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three University of Arkansas Honors College juniors have been selected as finalists for the 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

  • Victoria Maloch of Magnolia is an honors agricultural business major with a minor in agricultural communications in the Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences.  
  • Danielle Neighbour of Lenexa, Kansas, is an honors civil engineering major with a minor in Spanish in the College of Engineering and the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Nezly Silva of Springdale, is an honors student majoring in social work and Latin American and Latino studies, with a minor in Spanish in Fulbright College.

This is the fifth consecutive year that multiple U of A students have been named Truman finalists, and in each of the last four years one of those finalists has gone on to be a Truman Scholar as well. This is the first year that three different colleges have been represented by Truman finalists.

“The University’s three finalists are deeply committed to making a difference.  They are indeed what the Truman Foundation likes to call ‘change agents,’” said Ashok Saxena, U of A provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “They have already made a significant difference on our campus and in their communities, and it is easy to see why these students were selected for this honor. They clearly all have exceptional futures ahead.”

Truman Scholars are selected based on a commitment to a career in public service and are awarded $30,000 in scholarship funds to attend graduate or professional school. The application process is rigorous, requiring more than 50 hours to complete.

This year, 775 students from 305 institutions across the nation applied for Truman Scholarships. Finalists demonstrated outstanding leadership, public service, and academic achievement. 

Finalists will interview with regional review panels in March and April. Truman Scholars will be announced in mid-April.

Victoria Maloch

Victoria Maloch

Maloch is a University of Arkansas Chancellor’s Scholar. In 2014-2015 she served as secretary of the National Future Farmers of America Organization, one of six students elected annually to serve as national officers. At the U of A Maloch has been involved with the Volunteer Action Center, Student Alumni Board, Associated Student Government and Young Democrats. She is politically minded, and has worked in the offices of Congressman Mike Ross and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and also volunteered on several state congressional campaigns.

“It is truly an honor to be selected as a Truman Scholar Finalist,” said Maloch. “Being able to represent my state and university on the national level is an amazing opportunity. The support I have received in my endeavors, both educational and personal, from the University of Arkansas has been above and beyond anything I could have imagined. As an agricultural business/pre-law student, I plan to continue my education at the University of Arkansas School of Law. With this specialized education, I will work to influence agriculture, food, and nutrition policy on the state and national levels.”


Danielle Neighbour

Neighbour is an Honors College Fellow. She is on the executive board of the Arkansas student chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Chi Epsilon, an honors society. She is currently researching water purification methods for natural disaster relief in developing urban areas. During a summer in Ecuador, Neighbour helped develop potable water systems for indigenous villages in the Amazon. In January, she participated in the U of A Global Community Development trip in Vietnam, where she evaluated rainwater catchment systems.

After completing her studies at the University of Arkansas, Neighbour will pursue a master’s degree in water resources and environmental engineering. She plans to work in developing nations to help implement stable potable water systems.

“I’m incredibly honored to be named as a finalist and am excited to share this experience with two fellow Razorbacks,” said Neighbour. “This opportunity is a testament to the investment of countless mentors, university faculty, friends, and family who have believed in my aspirations to make a difference.”


Nezly Silva

Silva is a Razorback Bridge Scholar. Since beginning her studies at the U of A, she has been an advocate for immigrant communities and first-generation Latino students in Northwest Arkansas, working as an intern at the Cisneros Center for New Americans and as a volunteer at an Arkansas Natural Dreamers DACA Clinic. In addition, Silva is involved with La Oficina Latina and the Arkansas United Community Coalition.

She plans to pursue a law degree after graduation and ultimately intends to help shape immigration policy at the state and national levels.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected as a Truman Scholarship finalist,” said Silva. “I deeply appreciate all those who have helped me in this process and hope to honor Truman’s legacy by pursuing a J.D. with a focus on immigration law in order to practice in a legal aid organization that advocates for immigrant rights.”

University of Arkansas students who are interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship should contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at


About U of A Truman Scholars: Recent University of Arkansas Truman Scholars include Grant Addison, history and political science, 2015; Cicely Shannon, economics, 2014; Nathan Coulter, political science, 2013; and Mike Norton, agricultural business and poultry science, 2012. Nineteen University of Arkansas students have been Truman Scholars, and 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.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Suzanne McCray, director
Office of Nationally Competitive Awards

Steve Voorhies, manager, media relations
University Relations


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