Champion of Immigrants And Farmworkers Selected As Truman Scholar

Junior Daisy Almonte a B.N. Duke Scholar from Turkey, N.C.

Daisy Almonte Duke University junior Daisy Almonte is among 62 students selected nationally as 2019 Truman Scholars.

The scholarship is the nation’s living memorial of President Harry S. Truman.  Students from every state are selected based on their leadership potential, high academic achievement and a commitment to careers in public service and advocacy.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation received 756 nominations from 311 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.

“On behalf of the entire Duke community, I am delighted to congratulate Daisy Almonte on winning the Truman Scholarship,” said Duke University President Vincent E. Price. “Through her advocacy for farmworkers and her research into barriers facing undocumented immigrants, she has exemplified both our university’s commitment to public service and exceptional academic ability. When she leaves Duke to pursue graduate education, we can all be proud to call her a Blue Devil.”

Almonte, a B.N. Duke Scholar from Turkey, North Carolina, is pursuing an interdepartmental major combining public policy and sociology. Growing up in a small rural town in Eastern North Carolina, Almonte works to improve the lives of immigrants and farmworkers through her community leadership, academic scholarship and social justice advocacy.

Almonte is one of the youngest board members of Student Action with Farm Workers, which seeks to improve living and working conditions for farmworkers in North Carolina. In the summer of 2018 she served as a First-Gen Fellow for the National Immigration Law Center, conducting research on immigrant demographics and analyzing ICE-conducted raids to develop ICE Raid Response Plans for grassroots organizers. 

“When Daisy decides to intervene in a university policy or to propose a new one, she first does meticulous research and brings that research, well-digested and clearly presented, to her meeting with those who have decision-making power,” said Duke history professor Sarah Deutsch. “Without question, Daisy will be a formidable, ground-shaping scholar, and equally without question, that scholarship will, in turn, shape policy in positive ways.”

At Duke, Almonte serves as the Duke Student Government vice president for Equity and Outreach, providing student leadership on issues ranging from sexual misconduct and Title IX to sponsoring legislation urging the Duke administration to establish a formal hate and bias policy. 

She is active in several Latino organizations. Almonte has been recognized as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellow, researching the intersection of state and local policies on obtaining drivers’ licenses and how those policies affect undocumented immigrants. This research will form the basis of her senior honors thesis. Additionally, Almonte is a Baldwin Scholar, a selective program for women leaders. 

With Truman funding, Almonte plans to pursue a law degree and a Ph.D. in sociology, with the goal of transforming research into action. She would like to teach in a law school and create interdisciplinary opportunities for students to work on policy issues, which she imagines as a cross between a law clinic and a think tank that advocates for the rights of those who have been historically disempowered. 

To date, Duke students have received 51 Truman scholarships since the program was initiated in 1977.

Duke students and alumni can receive support for opportunities like the Truman Scholarship from the Nationally Competitive Scholarships team at the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows.

For more information on the Truman Scholarship go to www.truman.gov.