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### Ray Epstein, Student Advocate, Awarded 2024 Truman Scholarship

Just a day after completing a challenging interview, Ray Epstein, a member of the Class of 2025, was announced as the sixth Temple University student to be honored with the esteemed Truman Scholarship for her exceptional leadership potential in the field of public service.

Ray Epstein, a prominent figure on campus recognized for her advocacy in preventing sexual assault and supporting survivors, has been awarded a $30,000 grant towards a graduate degree in public service, with the possibility of a matching amount from her selected higher education institution as she pursues a law degree.

Epstein, a double major in English at the College of Liberal Arts and communication and social influence at Klein College of Media and Communication, aims to leverage her legal education to advocate for legislation supporting sexual assault survivors, building on her impactful initiatives at Temple. Additionally, she has been elected as the president of Temple Student Government for the term 2024-25.

Temple President Richard M. Englert commended Ray Epstein for her academic excellence, leadership qualities, and dedication to creating a positive influence. He expressed pride in her achievements, highlighting her as an inspiration to the Temple community and anticipating her significant contributions as a Truman scholar committed to public service.

Discovering the grant program online in October 2023, Epstein reached out to Barbara Gorka, the director of scholar development and fellowships advising, who provided valuable guidance throughout the application process. Epstein garnered support from Temple University, as well as recommendations from educators such as professors Daniel Silverman and Laura Sinko. An expert panel including CLA Dean Richard Deeg, English Department Chair Roland Williams, and other distinguished faculty members assisted Epstein in interview preparation.

Epstein acknowledged the instrumental role of Professor John Matthews in honing her public speaking skills, which proved pivotal in her successful interview process culminating in her selection for the scholarship. Reflecting on the rigorous final interview conducted at a Washington law firm near the White House, Epstein recalled the challenge of defending her ideas and cited a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling related to Title IX in her responses.

Provost Gregory N. Mandel shared the news of Epstein’s award during a spontaneous meeting arranged by Gorka at Founder’s Garden, marking a significant milestone in Epstein’s academic journey. Established by Congress in 1975, the Truman Scholarship serves as a tribute to President Harry S. Truman, supporting emerging leaders in public service. The Truman Foundation, operating as an independent agency within the White House complex, aims to inspire and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in public service.

Epstein’s commitment to activism is deeply ingrained in her campus involvement, evident through her leadership roles in organizations like Student Activists Against Sexual Assault (SAASA) and Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Temple. Her initiatives have already yielded tangible results, such as securing a grant for Temple’s Wellness Resource Center to enhance sexual assault awareness and prevention efforts.

As one of the 60 recipients this year, Epstein joins a distinguished cohort of Truman Scholars recognized for their leadership potential, dedication to public service, and academic excellence. The Truman Scholarship offers recipients financial support for graduate studies, leadership training, and unique internship opportunities within the federal government, fostering the development of future public service leaders. Selected through a rigorous process involving independent selection panels comprising eminent civic leaders and past Truman Scholarship awardees, this year’s scholars were chosen from a pool of candidates nominated by colleges and universities nationwide.