Abril Hunter, a decorated Florida State University Environmental Science and Policy student, has been named a 2022 Truman Scholar, among the most coveted undergraduate awards in the country.
The merit-based Truman Scholarship awards up to $30,000 to undergraduate students who desire financial support to attend graduate or professional school in preparation for careers in government, the nonprofit sector or elsewhere in public service.
Hunter, an FSU Presidential Scholar from Belleville, Illinois, last year received the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Upon graduation in May 2023, she plans to attend graduate school to study urban and regional planning with an emphasis on social justice, climate resiliency and urban development to work for the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
“This university has helped me grow into a young student leader who is an agent for change throughout campus, and I am in awe to say that I am a 2022 Truman scholar,” Hunter said. “I am forever grateful to this institution for the love it has taught and instilled in me for not only leadership but public service.”
The Truman Scholarship, established by Congress in 1975 in honor of 33rd President Harry S. Truman, carries the legacy of Truman’s dedication to public service.
Hunter stands among 58 Truman Scholars chosen this year from a pool of 705 candidates nominated by 275 colleges and universities. Scholars were chosen based on the finalists’ academic success and leadership accomplishments and their likelihood of becoming change agents in public service.
“The Truman Scholarship is the nation’s most prestigious fellowship for undergraduate students interested in public service, and it’s hard to imagine anyone more deserving of this esteemed award than Abril Hunter,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “She is an outstanding student who has a passion for leadership, research and public policy that will make a difference in people’s lives. We are so proud of her tremendous achievement.”
The drinking-water crisis in Flint, Michigan, inspired Hunter to become interested in environmental racism and how policy affects minority communities. Since then, Hunter has presented research to the NAACP in Detroit on purifying lead-polluted water and has investigated the effectiveness of recycling messaging in Florida cities and counties.
From 2020 to 2021, Hunter served as a senator in FSU’s Student Government Association, where she passed a bill prohibiting the use of activities and service fees in the purchase of single-use plastic water bottles except in emergencies. She currently serves as the 74th SGA Student Senate president.
Her proactive approach to addressing environmental racism grounded in academic rigor and empathetic leadership led to her award last year from NOAA.
“When I stepped onto this campus freshman year as a Presidential Scholar and an honors student, I only ever imagined my role on campus to be that of a student who excels in her academics to the best of her ability,” she said. “However, I have found my time at Florida State University to be full of leadership and service that has helped me grow exponentially and propelled me to be the leader I am today.”
In awarding a Truman Scholarship, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation observed Hunter’s achievements and humanitarian work.
“The Truman Scholars recognized Abril’s tireless effort and amazing potential for enacting societal change throughout the course of her career, and it is a well-deserved honor for her and a great moment for our campus to celebrate one of our own,” said Craig Filar, associate dean, Undergraduate Studies, and director of the Office of National Fellowships. “I could not be more thrilled by Abril’s selection as a Truman Scholar, as she represents the characteristics of what makes our student body so amazing.”
As a Truman Scholar, Hunter will be required to work in public service for three of the seven years following the completion of a foundation-funded graduate degree program.
“I would not be here today at Florida State University receiving this honor without the support of my family, friends, faculty, staff and the Office of National Fellowships,” she said.
For more information, visit https://onf.fsu.edu/.