Congratulations to LSA junior Catherine Hadley, U-M’s newest Truman Scholar! The Truman Scholarship, a merit-based award sponsored by the Truman Foundation, provides up to $30,000 for the graduate education and professional development of outstanding young people commited to public service leadership. A sociology major, Hadley is the twenty-eighth Truman Scholar at U-M.
Asked about her achievement, Hadley said, "Receiving the Truman is a great honor. I will use this great gift as another tool to elevate the voices of those I serve in my community and continue to advocate for a better, more equitable, and just America."
This year, Hadley joins a cohort of 62 Truman Scholars selected from a pool of 845 candidates nominated by 328 colleges and universities—a record number of applicants.
Scholar selection is based on a variety of criteria, including academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as the likelihood that scholars will become public service leaders.
This year's award recipients join the community of 3,384 Truman Scholars who have been named since the first awards were given in 1977. Hadley applied for the Truman Scholarship in part because of the opportunity to engage with this larger network. “I am looking forward to linking to this wide array of change agents who can help me navigate leadership and service,” she says. “The Truman Scholarship community will help me create a more considerable impact, creating systemic changes to make the world a better place.”
For Hadley, the Truman Scholarship application, and subsequent nomination process, was challenging yet affirming. “The Truman application process helped me evaluate my future goals and pushed me to aim higher than ever before. The process helped me discover what I want to do and how I could begin down that path,” she explains. “During this process, my community support and encouragement enabled me to see my experience, life, and work in a new, powerful way. They allowed me to see myself as a change agent.”
The mother of two, Hadley’s family also plays a large role in her dedication to public service. “My toddlers often tell people I am in school to save the world," she says, "so I have to work hard to live up to their expectations of me.”
In addition to founding BirthSafe.org, a maternal health-specific review website, Hadley has lobbied for maternal health bills in Michigan and in Washington, D.C. Hadley also serves on the steering committee of Michigan Hungry for Justice. In September 2020, the group helped to pass S.B. 1006 in the Michigan Legislature, which removed the state's felony ban for SNAP benefits. She interned with the Michigan Women’s Commission and worked on the 2020 campaign to elect the Washtenaw County Prosecutor. She currently works as a junior associate of Patriotic Millionaires as part of LSA's Michigan in Washington Program.
After she graduates, Hadley will enter the Master of Social Work Program at U-M. She plans to pursue the Policy & Political Social Work pathway, possibly with a dual master's degree in Public Health (Health Behavior and Health Education). After finishing her educational pursuits, she intends to launch a career in the political sphere here in Michigan.
Hadley is also a 2021 recipient of the Rosalie Ginsberg Dedicated Community Service Award.
“We are thrilled that Cat has been selected as a 2021 Truman Scholar. I am deeply impressed by all she has accomplished at U-M in just one year since she transferred, on top of all she accomplished before coming to LSA” said Anne Curzan, Dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan. “Her commitment to public service, to being an advocate for underserved communities and applying her skill set to create lasting social change, is nothing short of inspirational. She is the epitome of what it means to be a leader and a student at LSA. This honor is much deserved.”