CU-Boulder student wins prestigious Truman Scholarship

Jordan Burns, a University of Colorado Boulder junior majoring in civil engineering, has won a prestigious Truman Scholarship, an honor that brings with it up to $30,000 for graduate study.

Burns, who is from Colorado Springs, is CU-Boulder’s ninth recipient of the scholarship and first since 2006.

The 59 new Truman Scholars were selected from among 655 candidates nominated by 293 colleges and universities. Recipients were chosen on the basis of their academic and leadership accomplishments and their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

“These scholarships are incredibly competitive,” said Deborah Viles, director of CU-Boulder’s Office of Top Scholarships. “Jordan’s success highlights her exceptional leadership, civic engagement, global awareness and expertise in her field. Her success is a measure of the range of outstanding opportunities and support available to undergraduates at CU-Boulder.”

Burns is interested in working on infrastructure improvements in the developing world and plans to expand her humanitarian efforts with a graduate degree in global human development or international policy. 

She is a member of numerous groups and organizations on campus, including Norlin Scholars, Special Undergraduate Enrichment Programs, Engineering Honors Program and the CU-Boulder chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

With CU-Boulder’s Engineers Without Borders group, she served as the project manager for the Rwanda program for the past year and a half. The team is currently gearing up to implement a new freestanding rainwater catchment system this summer, in partnership with the nonprofit group Village Makeover.

Burns also has been awarded a prestigious and competitive position at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) this summer, where she will serve as the civil engineering intern to the USAID Ethiopian Mission’s Health, AIDS, Population and Nutrition Office. She will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to assist in the construction of health care facilities. 

Outside of school Burns enjoys biking, hiking and exploring Colorado, learning new languages and backpacking internationally.

Viles encourages other CU-Boulder sophomores and juniors interested in public service to find out more about applying for the Truman Scholarship by emailing her at

Congress established the Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975 as the federal memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury.

Deborah Viles, CU-Boulder Top Scholarship Office, 303-735-6801
Greg Swenson, CU-Boulder media relations, 303-492-3113