April 23, 2018
Tyler Sloan ’17
Kieran Minor '19 wins Truman Scholarship
Kieran Minor '19 hopes to pursue a career in environmental justice and work with rural, indigenous communities throughout the United States. Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

After an intensive application process, Kieran Minor ’19 has won the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Awarded to outstanding college juniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service, the $30,000 prize will help fund Minor’s postgraduate studies.

For those who know Kieran Minor, his Truman Scholarship probably comes as no surprise. Even before attending Oberlin to major in environmental studies and economics, Minor had a sense of what he hoped to accomplish and who he wanted to work with in the field of environmental justice. Now, his mission will be supported with one of the premier postgraduate fellowships for public service in the United States.

“I am humbled to be part of a truly inspiring class of Truman Scholars this year,” says Minor, who was selected from 756 applicants. “Before arriving at Oberlin, I spent a year living and working for youth and media nonprofits in remote indigenous communities in the American Southwest and Central Australia. These experiences, and the relationships I formed, grounded me in what I wanted to study at Oberlin and what I want to do after I graduate. For me, Truman acknowledges what I have done so far and motivates me to keep going.”

Minor eventually plans on pursuing a joint JD/MA degree in environmental management with a focus on environmental law and policy, but he won't be slowing down between now and then. In addition to the Truman, Minor also won a Davis Projects for Peace award of $10,000 to finance his work this summer with a collaborative arts education program for Navajo youth in Chinle, Arizona. He hopes to help small rural communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change by finding sustainable solutions that promote energy independence, economic and educational opportunities, health and wellbeing, and cultural resilience.

Aside from serving on the boards of the Green EDGE Fund and Student Union, Minor tutors through Oberlin’s Ninde Scholars Program, has starred in multiple theater productions, sings in an a cappella group, and takes secondary voice lessons in the conservatory. For his Truman application, he cited organizational experience with the boards as examples of formulating ideas and working with different legislative organizations.

“Oberlin celebrates creativity, collaboration, and exploration like no other place,” Minor says. “Only here could I imagine myself having two majors and a minor (with room for courses outside these areas), being involved with student legislative and public service organizations, as well as doing theater and taking secondary lessons in jazz voice. Being a part of this community has taught me to celebrate these differences, as well as to combine different interests in ways I would not have thought to before.”

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