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ASU Honors Student Named Truman Finalist

February 25, 2013

Sean Motl, a third-year student in Angelo State University’s Honors Program, has been named a finalist for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship Competition that awards its winners $30,000 each for graduate studies in preparation for careers in public service.

A psychology major from San Angelo, Motl is completing his pre-med requirements at ASU.  By being named a finalist for the Truman Scholarship, he now moves on to the regional interview round to be conducted March 8 in Fort Worth.

In 2012, only 54 scholarships were awarded to winners spread throughout the U.S. and American Samoa.  Texas had two winners last year, both students at Rice University.  The 2013 winners will be announced April 11.

To be eligible for the competition, students must be nominated by a Truman faculty representative and complete an extensive application and policy statement.  Primary criteria for the scholarships are leadership potential and communication skills, intellectual strength and analytical ability, and the likelihood of a candidate “making a difference” in public service as evidenced though campus and community involvement.

“Just completing the application process itself is worthy of recognition,” said Dr. Shirley Eoff, Honors Program director.  “But making the interview round is a true mark of distinction for Sean, for ASU and for our Honors Program.”

A first-generation college student, Motl is enrolled in the ASU Honors Program curriculum with thesis option, and has a 4.0 grade point average.  He completed the Honors Program Leadership Forum in 2010 and has since participated in the program’s Community Leadership Initiative as a board member of the San Angelo Early Childhood Center and Sonrisas Therapeutic Riding.  He made a presentation on “Servant Leadership in the Local Community” at the 2012 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Boston.

A member of the Honors Student Association (HSA), Motl previously served as the organization’s webmaster and has engaged in numerous HSA community service activities, including home repair projects for Helping Hands, warehouse cleanup for the Adult Literacy Council, room renovations for the Newbridge Family Shelter, and fundraising efforts for the Children’s Advocacy Center and Healthy Families San Angelo.

Upon completing his ASU studies, Motl hopes to earn an M.D./Ph.D. in medical anthropology in preparation for work with Doctors Without Borders or a similar organization.  Eventually, he hopes to move into a policy advisory position for the U.S. State Department’s Global Health Initiative or a United Nations agency.

In his application letter, Motl wrote, “I believe humanitarian efforts should move away from the paternal, helping-hand of charity and towards mutual respect and dignity by working together in partnership.  I have no interest in handing out medicine to ‘those poor African souls.’  I would much rather address health and human rights hand-in-hand as equals in order to empower individuals to solve their own problems.”

More information on the Truman Foundation and a complete list of 2013 scholarship finalists is available online at