April 12, 2024

Wayne State University public health student is named 2024 Harry S. Truman Scholar

College to Career

DETROIT – For the third consecutive year, Wayne State University is celebrating a recipient of one of the most prestigious national student honors and post-graduate scholarship.

Adaure Iwuh (pronounced: A-door-rae E-woo), a fourth-year public health student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Irvin D. Reid Honors College, is among 60 students from around the nation selected as 2024 Harry S. Truman Scholars. She is the first Wayne State student to win a Truman Scholarship and this year’s only recipient from a Michigan college or university.

The Truman Scholarship was established by Congress in 1975 as a living memorial to President Harry S. Truman and a national monument to public service. The Truman Scholarship is one of the highly competitive, national student honorifics that marks the highest caliber of student academic excellence and achievement. Each year, the Truman Scholarship provides financial support for graduate study and leadership training to 60 students. Iwuh was selected from 709 candidates nominated by 285 colleges and universities.

Iwuh joins recent WSU alumni Aaron Keathley, Ibrahim Ahmad and Abigail Smiles, who received the 2023 Marshall Scholarship, 2023 Rangel Fellowship and 2022 Fulbright Foundation Award, respectively, and other honorifics of similar prestige and national recognition.

“Wayne State University students achieve both in the classroom and community, and Adaure’s selection as a 2024 Truman Scholar reflects the excellence and impact of her work,” said President Dr. Kimberly Andrews Espy. “Adaure has taken full advantage of the many college to career opportunities available and as a public health warrior has worked to build a healthier world for all. She is a shining example of putting her research into action to empower health and drive prosperity for our Detroit community and beyond.”

Iwuh moved to Detroit in 2020 after completing training as a nursing and midwifery technician in Malawi, Africa. She is on track to graduate this December with a bachelor of science in public health and a minor in biology. She wants to help shape U.S. public health policies, particularly by improving preterm birth and maternal mortality rates, which are alarmingly high and outpacing those in all other high-income countries.

“I am passionate about addressing maternal mortality and morbidity,” Iwuh said. “It was unfortunate to see that in rural areas but to move to the U.S. and see the statistics about maternal mortality and how it’s disparately affecting some populations, especially African American women, I was shocked, to say the least, and inspired to do something about it, especially here in Detroit.”

In addition to the broader support she’s received from the public health department, the Office of Fellowships, and many other members of the Wayne State and Detroit communities, Iwuh credits four individuals – Kevin Deegan-Krause, Ph.D.; Patricia Wren, Ph.D.; Sasha Zhou, Ph.D.; and academic advisor Lauren Orr – for helping create a college-to-career path that provided experiential learning opportunities and allowed her to gain deeper insights and new perspectives.

At Wayne State, the Office of Fellowships offers services to help students gain a competitive edge in the application process and grow personally from the experience of applying to nationally competitive scholarships. 

Last summer, Iwuh earned an internship with the Detroit’s Mayoral Fellowship Program in the city’s Department of Health.

“What makes Adaure so remarkable is that she has not only excelled in the classroom but has taken that learning out into the broader community with extensive engagement in the public health sector in Detroit,” said Deegan-Krause, a veteran political science professor and faculty head of the Office of Fellowships. “Her hard work with the city’s health department led them to offer her a formal position and she has used it to make a difference for the people of this city.

“What is especially exciting for us at Wayne State is the way she has directly applied what she learned in the classroom to her work with the city and then brought her work experience back into her academic work. Her Truman Scholarship is recognition of that combination and of the amazing future that lies ahead for Adaure.”

Students interested in the Truman Scholarship and other fellowship opportunities should consult with Deegan-Krause at kdk@wayne.edu. Truman Scholarship annual process for juniors opens every September, with deadlines in mid-November. 

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