Duke University junior Logan Beyer is among 54 students selected as 2016 Truman Scholars.
Students are selected based on their records of leadership, public service and academic achievement, and their likelihood of becoming public-service leaders. The Truman Scholarship Foundation received a record number of 775 nominations from 305 colleges and universities.
Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.
"Logan Beyer is just the kind of student Duke is designed for,” said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead. “She has actively combined the resources of the university to deepen her understanding of her personal passion -- children and their development. Using what she is learning at Duke, she is sure to make her mark on a major societal need. We are thrilled that she has been chosen as a Truman Scholar.”
Beyer, a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar from New Bern, North Carolina, formulated her own curriculum though Duke’s “Program II” option -- an interdisciplinary program of study designed by individual students to meet their unique academic and intellectual goals. Beyer’s program focuses on taking a systems approach to childhood development.
“In order to make an impact in human lives, we have to first understand the complex factors that shape who we are and who we become -- our biology, our experiences and the systems around us, such as health and education, which influence the opportunities that we stumble into and how prepared we are to seize them,” said Beyer. “My Program II aims to explore the processes that shape identity and success. We live in a society that pretends all children start life with equal opportunities. I want to understand the systemic changes needed to realize that kind of equality.”
At Duke, Beyer has been involved with research at the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development and committed to service at Duke and beyond. Her civic engagement activities include serving as a special education intern with Plantersville Summer Academy in South Carolina, assisting the Nutritional Recuperation Program in the Palajunoj Valley, Guatemala, with preparing a data plan for future funding, and volunteering for the Duke and Durham chapters of the Special Olympics.
“Ms. Beyer is exceptional because she is clearly motivated by a desire to promote child development beyond research and service through improving the integrated functioning of the health, education and human service systems that affect children and families. Public service and civic engagement are not just consistent endeavors, but a core component of her identity,” said Robert J. Thompson, a professor of psychology at Duke.
With Truman funding, Beyer plans to pursue a master’s degree in human development and psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Then, Beyer will continue her education exploring the physiological basis of child success by attending medical school, and specializing in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. Beyer plans to be an academic physician tackling issues at the intersection of education and health systems.
“This work will empower me to combat the research and policy gaps that currently exist, promoting practices that provide all children with opportunities for success,” said Beyer.
To date, Duke students have received 49 Truman scholarships since the program was initiated in 1977.