GW Recipient of Truman Scholarship Wants to Champion Environmental Equity

Grace Truslow, a recipient of the 2024 Truman scholarship, wants to channel her passion for environmental advocacy with a career in green energy and infrastructure.

May 3, 2024

Grace Truslow

GW junior Grace Truslow.

Grace Truslow has held a deep appreciation for nature since she was a child. The George Washington University junior grew up in Rhode Island, a state with miles of coastline and scenic beaches. 

“I grew up with this intrinsic understanding of the importance of the social and environmental worlds having good relations with each other,” Truslow said. 

It’s that understanding that inspired Truslow to pursue a career dedicated to protecting the environment. And now, as a recipient of the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship, Truslow is one step closer to achieving that goal. 

She is currently a junior majoring in political science and minoring in sustainability. After she graduates from GW, Truslow wants to attend law school. As a recipient of the highly competitive Truman scholarship (the Truman Scholarship Foundation usually selects about 60 recipients out of 800 applicants), Truslow has earned a $30,000 award to go toward furthering her education. 

Truslow’s career interests are in the fields of green energy transition and land use decisions. She wants to concentrate on environmental or energy law and champion efforts to make land use decisions where equity is a priority and work toward addressing infrastructure needs in U.S. cities. 

 “In my future career, I hope to work in ensuring decisions that are made when we're changing our built environment are made with historical understanding of communities and past infrastructure development,” Truslow said. “I just think it's really important that when we want to create a new future, we're doing so with an understanding of the past and how to do so in the most equitable way possible.” 

She said receiving the Truman scholarship is not only helping her achieve her career goals but it has also provided her with a community that inspires her as she aims to dedicate her life to public service. 

“I think that the Truman Foundation and community is just so amazing. And I'll get to be part of an alumni network with people who are aspiring towards or are currently in public service,” Truslow said. “Throughout the process, I've been able to meet incredible people that are in my age group that are excited about pursuing careers in public service. I’m also excited to be a part of the broader network of people who are changemakers in the field.”  

Truslow credits her professors and the classes she’s taken at GW for helping her achieve this opportunity. 

She said GW allowed her to take a lot of interdisciplinary courses in political science and geography that broadened her understanding of the impact social and political influences have on the environment. 

Truslow said one course in particular, Transitional Justice taught by professor Elvira-Maria Restrepo, highlighted the importance of understanding the past to move toward a different future and understanding how the past impacts the present. 

Going to a school located in the heart of D.C. also allowed Truslow to get invaluable internship experiences including being able to witness and support the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law while working at the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

“Throughout this process, I learned so much. And I want to recognize that I would not have gotten this far if I didn’t go to GW and have such caring and active professors,” Truslow said. “And being in D.C. and having the opportunity to see some of these transformative pieces of legislation being implemented in real-time. It’s all been invaluable to me.” 

 The Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research (CUFR) at GW mentors all students and alumni pursuing national awards and research opportunities. Scholarship applicants can receive assistance with one-on-one mentoring, essay draft reviews, mock interviews and additional mentoring with GW faculty and staff.

Jacob English, the director of CUFR, said he is proud of Truslow’s hard work that led her to this achievement. 

“The Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research, GW Libraries and Academic Innovation and the GW Truman Endorsement Committee are extremely proud of Grace and we are excited about the impact she is making and will continue to make in her field,” English said.