University of Pittsburgh
April 22, 2016

Pitt Student Awarded 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Prestigious national honor awards $30,000 for graduate school and professional training for a career in public service leadership
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PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh junior Lia Petrose has been awarded a 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Petrose will receive the honor during a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., on May 29.

Congress established the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975 to commemorate the legacy of the 33rd U.S. President. A highly competitive, merit-based federal scholarship, the honor awards $30,000 to outstanding college juniors for graduate school and professional development pursuits in preparation for a career in public service leadership.

Petrose is one of only 54 students in the nation awarded the Truman Scholarship in 2016. The 2016 scholars were chosen from a pool of 775 candidates from 305 educational institutions, a record number of applicants and institutions. Petrose is Pitt’s 12th Truman Scholar and the University’s first winner since 2008.

“Lia is an exceptional individual whose dedication to international health care access sets her apart from her peers,” said Lia PetrosePitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Our University community is proud of Lia and excited for her future.”

“When I think of the core values of the University Honors College—academic attainment, intellectual curiosity, and social consciousness—I think of Lia Petrose. She is a remarkable person who has a clear vision of her life’s goals as well as the drive, intellect, and resolve needed to fulfill them,” said Pitt’s University Honors College Dean Edward M. Stricker. Stricker has worked alongside Petrose on a number of University endeavors and served as her professor in the course Topics in Neuroscience Research during the fall 2014 semester. “Lia’s selection as a Truman Scholar speaks to her distinguished academic record and her dedication to the greater good of humanity. It has been a great pleasure for me to witness her personal growth over the past three years.”

Petrose is pursuing a Bachelor of Philosophy degree through the University Honors College and the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, majoring in economics, neuroscience, and international and area studies. Petrose expects to graduate from Pitt in August 2017.

Next fall, Petrose will commence a full academic year of studying the natural sciences abroad at Jesus College, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. Her year abroad comes through Pitt Honors: Cambridge, a university program that offers one Pitt student per year the opportunity to study at Jesus College. Petrose is just the third student invited to partake in that program.

Following her undergraduate career, Petrose plans to enroll in a medical degree program that provides training in clinical practice, scholarly research, and public health policy. She hopes to devote her career to creating sustainable health care systems for underserved populations in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Petrose immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. She has performed field research within the capital city and the central region of Malawi during the summers of her freshman and sophomore years at Pitt. Within that Southeastern African nation, Petrose assisted in the development of health information management systems for hospitals in low resource communities.

As an undergraduate researcher, Petrose is involved in Parkinson’s disease research within the biological sciences lab of Pitt professor John M. Rosenberg. She also has conducted research endeavors within the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The findings of Petrose’s endeavors have been published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance.

A resident of Laurel, Md., Petrose arrived at Pitt in the fall of 2013 under the support of the University’s Helen S. Faison Scholarship. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has been an active campus leader. She recently completed a term as an elected board member in Pitt’s Student Government Board. She is a member of the University Honors College’s Dean’s Advisory Board as well as a University Honors College ambassador. Petrose serves on the Provost’s Committee for the Year of the Humanities in the University, the Board of Trustee’s Committee on Academic Affairs, and the Chancellor’s Working Group for Educational Excellence.

In addition to the Truman Scholarship, Petrose was most recently honored with Pitt’s G. Alec Stewart Student Achievement Award. Named for the University Honors College’s founding dean, the award recognizes Pitt juniors who best symbolize the core values of the University Honors College. Petrose was inducted into the national honor society Omicron Delta Kappa as a sophomore as well as The Phi Beta Kappa Society as a junior.

Petrose applied for the Truman Scholarship with assistance from Pitt’s University Honors College, which advises Pitt undergraduates and alumni who are interested in pursuing national and international awards.



Lia Petrose, Pitt's 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholar