Published: April 13, 2018

Serene Singh, a CU Boulder junior majoring in political science and journalism and minoring in leadership studies, has won a prestigious Truman Scholarship, an honor that brings with it up to $30,000 for graduate study, priority admission at graduate institutions and intensive leadership training for careers in public service.

Serene SinghSingh, who is from Colorado Springs, is CU Boulder’s 11th recipient of the scholarship and first since 2014.

The 59 new Truman Scholars were selected from among 756 candidates nominated by 311 colleges and universities. Recipients were chosen on the basis of their academic and leadership accomplishments and their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

"Serene brings tremendous energy and enthusiasm to our campus and beyond. She engages in remarkable community service, has extensive leadership experience and maintains sharp academic focus all at once," said Deborah Viles, director of CU Boulder’s Office of Top Scholarships.

"She's already shown herself to be a change-maker, and the Truman Scholarship will help broaden her influence. I'm proud to have her represent CU as a Truman Scholar, and I'm looking forward to seeing where her path takes her."

Singh is a member of numerous groups and organizations on campus, including the Boettcher Scholars, Presidents Leadership Class, Colorado Bhangra, Political Science Honor Society and University of Colorado Student Government, where she serves as chief justice of the CU Supreme Court. 

Singh, as the current America's Junior Miss and former Miss Colorado Teen titleholder, started a nonprofit called The Serenity Project to offer an experience aimed at growing confidence and self-esteem for at-risk and marginalized communities of women. She hopes the project will empower participants to find their voices and focus their energy on causes they believe in. 

She also works with women in The Serenity Project on speaking skills and coaches middle school and high school students in economically depressed regions, as well as students from low-income backgrounds across the country.

Outside of school work, Singh is active in the Sikh-American community. She started the first Sikh Student Association in Colorado and is working on an honors thesis in addition to policy that will help protect Sikhs in the United States from hate crimes. Annually, Singh organizes a camp for young students to learn Punjabi Indian dance and challenge their stereotypes surrounding South Asians and Sikhs in America. Singh also has interned with the U.S. Senate, the Sikh American Legal Defense Education Fund and Opportunity Nation to further explore her interests in areas such as First Amendment rights, justice and tolerance.

Singh said of the award:

I am incredibly honored and humbled to have received the Truman Scholarship, which is nationally known for its competitive nature and its strong desire to invest in our nation's most promising change-makers and leaders. I feel truly fortunate to have been selected amongst thousands of students.

This scholarship and the people I have met from this journey have changed my life in the best ways possible—I thank each and every one of them for their love and support in this crazy process. Thank you to CU Boulder for giving every student the chance to reach their biggest dreams—this institution has been instrumental in shaping who I am today, and I am forever thankful to be a Buff. I cannot wait for more opportunities to learn, grow and give back to my incredible community, state and country.”

Singh aspires to one day be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

Viles encourages other CU Boulder sophomores and juniors interested in public service to learn 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.