Out of 790 applicants, Mesoud Awol ’23 was nominated to be one of the 189 finalists to be considered for the Truman Scholarship, according to a BrandeisNOW article. The Truman Scholarship is a scholarship of $30,000 for any undergraduate student across the nation with a specific interest in public service, according to the BrandeisNOW article.
Awol is set to participate in the Regional Review Panels in Phoenix and will be representing his home state, Nevada. Despite this meeting being held virtually, Awol is excited that he will have the opportunity to form meaningful connections with fellow finalists, past Truman Scholarship winners, and the scholarship committee of national experts, he said in an interview with BrandeisNOW.
Awol is a Business major and current junior who grew a passion for public service after moving to and growing up in Las Vegas, according to the article. The Ethiopian American identified a lack of diversity in the economy which resulted in limited social welfare programs and public education and infrastructure that was inefficient, he explained. “I started imagining what the city could become. I knew it had the potential to support a thriving economy with affordable housing and diverse populations,” said Awol.
His love for public service led him and his fellow co-founders, Michael Haile and Jordanna Mersha, to start a non-profit organization called Diaspora Capital Partners. The organization strives to help Black-owned businesses by helping them grow in the local economy through measures like helping create websites and learning how to market themselves on social media, he explained in the article. The Brandeis community also supported Awol’s non-profit, particularly Edward Jay Bayone, who Awol claims is his campus mentor. “I have known Mesoud for more than a year and am honored to be considered a mentor,” said Bayone. “He is that rare student who not only is brilliant but also demonstrates an unusually high commitment to community and caring.”
In the future, Awol plans to continue growing his non-profit organization while potentially striving to attain an MBA and MPA and improve the Las Vegas economy, according to the article. Being granted the Truman Scholarship would allow Awol to complete his education and continue to reach his goals for the non-profit organization and further his education.
Awol believes that the connections that he has made and continues to make will help him along the way. “I am so thankful for the network of people I have met through this scholarship process,” said Awol. “I can confidently say I have a concrete support system.”