Published: April 15, 2021

Joris Alawoe, a CU Boulder junior majoring in political science, has been named a prestigious Truman Scholar, an honor that includes $30,000 for graduate study at an institution of his choice. Each scholar also receives leadership training, career counseling, and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government.

Joris AlawoeAlawoe, a member of the Presidents Leadership Class, is CU Boulder's 13th recipient of the award. The 62 new Truman Scholars were selected from 845 candidates nominated by 328 colleges and universities––a record number of applicants.

“Joris’s achievement highlights his exceptional leadership, civic engagement and ability to make change in his communities,” said Deborah Viles, director of CU Boulder's Office of Top Scholarships.

“These attributes along with his life experiences make Joris especially well suited to serve the public good as a Truman Scholar. He will do so with humility, humor and enthusiasm. I’m so proud to have him represent the University of Colorado. Further, Joris’s success shows the range of outstanding opportunities and support available to undergraduates at CU Boulder.”

Joris Alawoe

Life at CU

“I’m a first-generation Togolese-American from Denver. I graduated from Cherry Creek High School. I am a junior pursuing a degree in political science with a minor in leadership studies. As a member of the Presidents Leadership Class, I serve as the director of community outreach and recruitment of prospective scholars, promoting expansive recruitment strategies for the program. 

“When I'm not doing school work, you can find me in a studio trying to make a song.”

Graduate school and beyond

“Currently, I plan to either study education policy or public policy. I have looked into pursuing a master's degree in education at CU Boulder, but I am also considering other institutions that harbor strong public policy programs.

“Many opportunities and doors have been opened to me because of policy, so I have always understood the influence and impact of government. As the son of an immigrant, the American dream is something that has been ingrained in me. I believe by promoting sound policy, we can reenergize that dream and combat our many societal ills.

“Once I finish graduate school, I plan to become a policy analyst. I hope to influence legislation in some form or fashion.”

Proudest moments at CU

  • Being a PLCer (President Leadership Class scholar). “I will be serving as the director of PLC student staff next year.”
  • Volunteering with PB N' Luvin, a homeless initiative with Wesley Chapel.
  • Being an RA at Sewall Hall during my sophomore year.

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.

Interested in applying?

Sophomores committed to public service can contact Deborah Viles at to learn more about applying for the Truman Scholarship next year.