Bragging Rights: Three Mason Students are Truman Finalists

Posted: March 15, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: March 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm

By Rashad Mulla

Three Mason undergraduates are among the 200 finalists for the 2010 Harry S. Truman Scholarships, awarded to at least one student applicant per state.

The students — D’Leon Barnett, Whitney Burton and Nader Hussein — will interview for the scholarships throughout the month. The Truman scholarship provides up to $30,000 in funding for graduate school in public service fields. Students must be juniors at the time of application. The finalists were selected by a faculty committee organized by the Honors College Postgraduate Fellowships Program.

D'Leon Barnett. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Barnett is majoring in integrative studies with a concentration in education for social sciences. He is a senator in Student Government and the treasurer of the Black Student Alliance. He also volunteers his time for a variety of causes: He taught communication to high school students in Washington, D.C., and he teaches and helps students with mental and physical disabilities in the Mason LIFE program.

After he graduates, he’d like to work for the Prince George’s County (Md.) public school system. Eventually, he’d like to become the superintendent.

Whitney Burton. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Burton is majoring in economics. In January 2008, she presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She is the founder and president of Mason ChangeMakers, an organization dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship. She is an editorial assistant for the Innovation Journal, a joint publication of Mason, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a high school student, she started a project that raised more than $16,000 to build a school in Sierra Leone.

Eventually, Burton would like to earn a master’s degree in social entrepreneurship from Oxford University. Her ultimate goal is to combine her “three loves” — traveling, baking bread and helping women around the world — by starting a bakery in the United States that would later expand to developing countries. Burton is a University Scholar.

Nader Hussein. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Hussein is a biology major with a minor in nutrition. He volunteered with HIV/AIDS clinics in Harlem along with other Mason students. He was the team captain of Mason’s AIDS Walk Washington team. He is the class representative for the University Scholars Program and the president of Mason’s chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society. He was the peer advisor for two sections of University 100 and will co-teach a third section this fall. He volunteered as an EMT for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue for more than a year and currently interns at a family medicine practice in Fairfax.

Hussein plans to pursue a joint medical and public health graduate degree after graduating from Mason.

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