MSU senior named Truman scholarship finalist

Contact: Zack Plair

Natalie M. Jones (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A senior English and sociology double major from Flowood is a finalist for the nation’s most prestigious scholarship for students dedicated to public service.

Natalie M. Jones will interview March 29 in Nashville, Tennessee, in hopes of becoming the university’s 18th Harry S. Truman Scholar.

A presidential scholar and member of the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, Jones is a member of the MSU Student Association’s Executive Council, Roadrunners student recruiting group, a member of the Dean of Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Council and a leader in the Society of African American Studies. She is among about 200 finalists selected from a pool of more than 700 applicants nationwide.

“It would be an honor to be added to the list of Truman scholars from the university that has invested so much in me,” Jones said. “There’s a good mixture of nervousness and excitement about the interview process. I hope to make everyone proud.”

Annually presented to between 55 and 65 students, the highly-coveted academic and leadership recognition provides $30,000 in graduate-study expenses. All selected make a commitment to public service after completing their degrees.

Established in 1975, the Washington, D.C.-based Truman Scholarship Foundation serves as a living memorial to the nation’s 33rd president. Supporting the graduate education and professional development of young people committed to public service and leadership is its primary mission. For more, visit

After earning her undergraduate degree at MSU, Jones plans to pursue a law degree, as well as a master’s in public policy. She wants to use her education to become a leader in dismantling institutional and systemic discrimination.

“My specific passion is empowering others,” she said. “I’ve always been the underdog’s advocate, even as a child when someone was being bullied on the playground. My background, both as an African American and a female, has allowed me to see these systemic injustices.”

Her commitment to dissolving barriers of inequality has shone brightly at MSU and earned her a place on the Shackouls Diversity Task Force, said Chris Snyder, professor and dean for the honor’s college.

Snyder called Jones a student with great potential and great dedication to public service.

“Since the first time I met her, I noticed her charisma and her positive attitude about social change,” he said.

To learn more about the Shackouls Honors College, visit

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