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Junior Kayle Lauck named 2024 Truman Scholar

University of Notre Dame junior Kayle Lauck has been named a 2024 Truman Scholar. She is the University’s 12th Truman Scholar since 2010 — a group that includes three Rhodes Scholars: Alex Coccia (’14), Christa Grace Watkins (’17) and Prathm Juneja (’20).

University of Notre Dame junior Kayle Lauck has been named a 2024 Truman Scholar. She is the University’s 12th Truman Scholar since 2010 — a group that includes three Rhodes Scholars: Alex Coccia (’14), Christa Grace Watkins (’17) and Prathm Juneja (’20).

Lauck is among 60 recipients of the award from a pool of more than 700 candidates. The selection process is highly competitive, taking into account an applicant’s academic, leadership and service records and likelihood of success in graduate school.

Lauck is a political science major from South Dakota. She is a Glynn Family Honors and Suzanne and Walter Scott Scholar, co-founder and co-president of the Agricultural Student Association of Notre Dame, a Global Sustainability Fellow, co-founder and co-director of the South Dakota College Success Initiative, and a longtime member of the National FFA Organization. Her minors are in politics, philosophy and economics and education, schooling and society.

As an undergraduate, Lauck has been involved with both student government and the Student Policy Network. She was the communications liaison for the Kellogg Institute for International Studies’ Human Development Conference. She was also a stream ecology lab assistant to Jennifer Tank, the Ludmilla F., Stephen J. and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame and director of the University’s Environmental Change Initiative; an agricultural policy research assistant to Paul Winters, the associate dean for academic affairs and Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Global Affairs in the Keough School of Global Affairs; and a coastal resiliency and disaster recovery research assistant to Debra Javeline, Kellogg faculty fellow and associate professor of political science at Notre Dame.

Away from campus, Lauck studied international law and the holocaust in Poland with Emilia Justyna Powell, professor of political science and concurrent professor of law at Notre Dame, as a rising sophomore. As a rising junior, she traveled to Israel to study Israeli politics and Christianity and Judaism through Notre Dame Jerusalem . She was an agricultural policy intern with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in the spring of her sophomore year.

Lauck is currently studying abroad at the University of Galway, where she is working as a climate economics researcher assistant to Tom McDermott, the Galway University Foundation Lecturer in the Economics of Climate Change and Development.

As a scholar and researcher, Lauck is motivated by a concern for the health and well-being of rural communities.

Growing up in rural South Dakota, she witnessed firsthand how a lack of access to economic opportunity and health care, among other factors, contributed to poor mental health in her corner of the state — part of the larger rural mental health crises in the U.S.

As a Truman Scholar, Lauck intends to study energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, which offers a concurrent graduate/law degree in the subject. She then plans to return to South Dakota and advocate for rural communities, including farmers, ranchers and tribal members.

“It is rare to see such a cohesive scholarly and civic profile in an undergraduate resume,” Javeline said. “Kayle has identified needs in rural communities, particularly in her home state of South Dakota, and she is mission-driven in trying to educate herself to fill those needs. She is committed to being part of the solution.”

In applying for the Truman Scholarship, Lauck worked closely with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), which supports the intellectual development of Notre Dame students via scholarly engagement, research, creative endeavors and the pursuit of fellowships.

Elise Rudt-Moorthy is the associate director of national fellowships for CUSE.

“In our first meeting back in October of 2021, Kayle struck me as a dedicated public servant and an innovator,” Rudt-Moorthy said. “I advised her to pursue the activities she wanted and if they kept her on the path to public service, then it was meant for her. She proceeded to tailor her degree and extracurriculars towards meeting the needs of rural communities in South Dakota, both confirming and solidifying that path. She will be an excellent public servant and Truman Scholar, and it was my honor to work with her over the past three years.”

“I am so thankful to Elise Rudt for her constant support and encouragement, both through the Truman application process and during the whole of my time at Notre Dame, as well as to the entire CUSE team,” Lauck said. “I am also grateful to my mentors, Dr. Debra Javeline and Dr. Andrea Bjornestad, both of whom have inspired and encouraged me in more ways than I am sure they know, as well as to the faculty and staff I have been blessed to learn from these last three years.”

She continued, “I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to join a cohort of public service-oriented leaders from across the country as a Truman Scholar. I hope to learn from the diverse perspectives that will be brought together to gain skills and knowledge I can bring back to my beloved home state of South Dakota that will encourage further educational opportunities, tribal reconciliation and sustainable rural development.”

For more on this and other scholarship opportunities, visit cuse.nd.edu.

Contact: Erin Blasko, associate director of media relations, 574-631-4127, eblasko@nd.edu

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