MSU’s two Truman Scholarship finalists praised for leadership, commitment to service

Marisa Laudadio (Photo by Russ Houston)Alicia Brown (Photo by Logan Kirkland)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University is being represented this week in Nashville, Tennessee, by two top students interviewing for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Seniors Alicia D. Brown of Petal and Marisa G. Laudadio of Walnut are visiting “Music City” on Wednesday [March 6] in hopes of becoming the university’s newest students to receive the highly coveted award honoring the nation’s 33rd president. Both are students in MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College.

Brown is a chemical engineering major in the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering’s Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering.

Laudadio is a political science/pre-law and communication/public relations double-major in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Political Science and Public Administration and Department of Communication.

Tommy Anderson, honors college associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs and director of the Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, said MSU and the Shackouls Honors College are proud to be represented this year by two Truman Finalists who exhibit “remarkable leadership and commitment to service.”

“Alicia and Marisa think beyond the boundaries of a single major to begin to solve problems, such as climate change, immigration reform, foster care and adoption reform, and children’s rights. Both student leaders believe that democracy is strong enough to tackle these critical concerns and have chosen to be part of the solution in the future,” said Anderson, who also serves as an English professor and the College of Arts and Sciences’ interim assistant dean for undergraduate academic affairs.

“Alicia and Marisa are inspiring women who have made Mississippi State and the state of Mississippi stronger in how it serves students and residents,” he added.

Administered each year by the Washington, D.C.-based Truman Scholarship Foundation, the Truman Scholarship provides $30,000 in graduate-study expenses for 55 to 65 students committed to public service after completing their degrees.

This year, the Truman Foundation reviewed 840 student applications from 346 institutions and selected 199 finalists from 143 institutions based on records of leadership, public service and academic achievement. Following interviews by the foundation’s regional review panels, the 2019 Truman Scholars class will be announced in late April. For more, visit

Learn more about MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College at; the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Political Science and Public Administration, at, and Department of Communication, at; and the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering and its Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, at and

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