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Economics student Leah Luben wins Truman Scholarship

April 25, 2012

Leah Luben, a junior majoring in economics at Arizona State University, has been named a 2012 Truman Scholar and will receive up to $30,000 for graduate study from the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

A student in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, Luben is among 54 Truman Scholars who were selected from 587 candidates nominated by 292 colleges and universities. Scholarship recipients, who must be in the top 25 percent of their class, are selected based on their academic and leadership accomplishments and their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

Luben, a Tempe resident, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics next year. She currently is working on an undergraduate honors thesis focused on the use of conditional cash transfers as a tool to motivate investment in children's education. She plans to continue on the economics track into graduate school and beyond.

Luben intends to use her Truman Scholarship to pursue a doctorate in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her goal is continued research focusing on the effectiveness of education and development programs in poor countries. Luben says she’s especially interested in working with the World Bank in its research projects relating to the effect of educational infrastructure on the success of education programs. 

In addition to her academic achievement, Luben has been active in community service and student leadership. She is the past director of the student leadership team at Changemaker Central, an ASU-based hub where students interested in social change can get direction, advice, community contacts and funding for projects. Luben also served in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps as a volunteer helping to provide disaster relief after hurricanes on the gulf coast. She also was a community assistant at the Sustainability House at Barrett, a student residential community focused on sustainable living. Her community involvement also includes past service as co-president of United Students for Fair Trade; president of the Key Club service organization; and founder and president of the New Global Citizens Organization, which introduces high school students to the concept of student service in the developing world.

Luben, along with other 2012 Truman Scholarship recipients from throughout the U.S. will gather for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and receive their awards in a ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo. in May.