Minnesota is home to four prestigious Truman Scholars

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 13, 2013 - 7:40 PM

Rachel Elise Mullin College of Saint Benedict


Four Minnesota college students are set to change the world. Or at least the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation thinks so.

Of the 62 Truman Scholars announced last week, four are studying in Minnesota. One of those grew up in Minneapolis.

The prestigious scholarship gives juniors up to $30,000 toward graduate school and priority admission at some of the country’s top universities. Truman Scholars are selected for their academic accomplishments “and their likelihood of becoming public service leaders,” the foundation said.

Winners say the process helps them sharpen their goals. Katrina Klett, a junior at the University of Minnesota, said that before, “the scale I thought I had an impact on was small ... helping this village, that village. I now think at a much more global scale.”

Read her story, plus those from the three other scholars:

Katrina Klett

University of Minn.

From: North Dakota

Major: Asian Languages and Literature


Growing up, Katrina Klett moved with the bees. Her parents’ work as migratory beekeepers brought them from North Dakota to Texas and back again, sometimes with a pit stop in California. Klett picked the University of Minnesota because of Prof. Marla Spivak, whose work as an entomologist earned her a MacArthur Fellowship, or “genius grant.” Klett knew Spivak before that prize, back when she helped Klett’s family breed their queen bees. Klett herself does not want to be an entomologist. Too much time in the lab. “I love the extension part,” she said. “Working with the beekeepers. Applying basic research to real-life problems.” Klett, 26, spent years in western China, teaching farmers to raise bees. “The whole point is for them to earn money without having to destroy their environment,” she said. “But I hope along the way, we’re all having a good time.” Klett plans to earn a master’s degree at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

Andrew Keefe

Macalester College

From: Minneapolis

Major: Linguistics, Media & Cultural Studies

As a high school student taking college courses, Andy Keefe taught English language learners in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, “an experience that really, really struck me,” he said. “I realized that whether or not you are fluent in English has a huge impact on your social mobility — the opportunities and options that are available to you.” After graduating from South High School, Keefe attended Northwestern University in Illinois for a year before transferring to Macalester in search of a campus more focused on social justice. His studies and internships have made him passionate about closing the achievement gap in city schools. Keefe, 21, plans to graduate a year early, teach Spanish for a year in St. Paul, then earn his Ph.D. in Race, Inequality and Language Education at Stanford University. “So much of what I can offer to this issue extends from the city and the school and the family that have raised me,” he said.


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