Mason Student Receives Truman Scholarship

Posted: March 28, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews

“Overwhelmed, shocked and excited” is how Malkit (Mona) Singh, a junior at Mason majoring in sociology, describes the recent news that she was awarded a Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Before being selected as Mason’s third-ever Truman Scholar (Laurie Bradley, ‘87, and Charles A. Green, ’95), Singh met with representatives from the Truman Scholarship Foundation for an interview and proposal review.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous as I was before that interview. The questions from the panel began before I even sat down.” Singh explains. “But the panel was full of great people, and I just felt ‘on’ and alert the whole time.”

Mona Singh
Mona Singh
Photo by Evan Cantwell

With this prestigious award, Singh will receive $30,000 for graduate study. Each year the Truman Foundation awards about 65 scholarships to college juniors across the country. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Throughout her collegiate career, Singh has proven her dedication to sociology, global health and community involvement. She served as class representative of the University Scholars program and was a Mason ambassador and supplemental instructor. She also served as president of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

“One of the characteristics that impresses me most about Mona is the passion she has for helping others,” says Paulette Royt, associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Microbiology, who worked closely with Singh at ASM. “She’s such an efficient, hard worker. This award will really help her as she goes on to medical school.”

Singh also served as a research assistant for the Center for Neural Dynamics in Mason’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, and was awarded the C.R. Walter Award for Outstanding Performance in Organic Chemistry in 2005-06.

During her freshman year, Singh participated in a seminar taught by Roger Wilkins, Robinson Professor of History and American Culture. During that time, Wilkins noticed Singh’s strong character.

“Mona was just an outstanding student,” Wilkins says. “Her contribution in the seminar was not just intelligent, but it was exceptionally wise for someone her age.”

Over the years, the two have stayed in contact, enabling Wilkins to hear of her academic achievements and write her letter of recommendation for the Truman Scholarship.

“She has become increasingly impressive and has a powerful drive to become someone that is effective in solving problems facing humanity, such as hunger, AIDS in Africa and acute poverty,” Wilkins says. “She’s committed to and understands the need for human beings to help these at-risk people. It’s part of her core.

“[Receiving the Truman Scholarship] is indicative of the increasing academic excellence of our student body at George Mason,” Wilkins adds.

Singh hopes to graduate from Mason in spring of 2008 and begin an internship with the Global AIDS Alliance thereafter. Following the internship, her plans include pursuing a combined master’s and doctoral degree in medical anthropology.

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