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University of Iowa News Release


April 4, 2011

University of Iowa honors student wins 2011 Truman Scholarship

University of Iowa Honors Program and UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) student Veena Patel has been awarded a 2011 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Madeleine K. Albright, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, announced this year's cohort, noting that each winner was chosen because of his or her leadership potential, intellectual ability, and likelihood of 'making a difference.'

Patel, a senior in the UI Department of Geography, is one of just 60 students in the nation to receive the award in 2011. President of the Undergraduate Geography Association, she is a successful social entrepreneur who is looking forward to using the skill and experience she gained running small businesses -- including a bike-taxi company aimed at promoting alternative, sustainable transportation -- in her future work in food systems planning and community development. To strengthen her existing knowledge, Patel will pursue dual professional degrees in Urban and Environmental Planning and Nutrition Science and Policy.
The 2011 Truman scholars were selected from among 602 candidates nominated by 264 colleges and universities. Each selection panel interviewed finalists from a three- to four-state region and generally elected one scholar from each state and one at-large scholar from the region.  
Patel worked closely with the UI Honors Program's Scholarship Director Kelly Thornburg, a 1998 Truman Scholar, to develop her application and policy proposal.

In a letter nominating Patel for the award, Department of Geography Chairperson Marc Armstrong wrote: "From her first course in geography, her focus has been on the interactions between place and community not as an intellectual exercise to gain insight, but as a basis for developing ways to improve them." 
In June of 2009, the UI was named a Truman Foundation Honor Institution. This award recognizes Iowa for "active encouragement of outstanding young people to pursue careers in public service." It goes to institutions of higher education that enjoy sustained success in helping their students win Truman Scholarships and promoting the principles of public service demonstrated by the foundation's namesake.  
For a listing of the 2011 scholars and more information on the Truman Scholarship Foundation, visit
For more information on Patel, visit
For more information on the UI Honors Program, visit
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500
MEDIA CONTACTS: Kelly Thornburg, UI Honors Program, 319-335-1874,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,