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The University of Alabama

2 UA Students Named Truman Scholars for 2016

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has named two University of Alabama students — Ciara Malaugh, of Huntsville, and Dana Sweeney, of Kingsland, Georgia, — as Truman Scholars for 2016.

Malaugh and Sweeney are among 54 U.S. students to receive a Truman Scholarship this year. UA was among only six institutions with multiple Truman Scholars in 2016.

Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be academically excellent and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

The Truman program drew 775 candidates nominated by 305 colleges and universities. The recipients were chosen from 197 finalists by 16 independent selection panels on the basis of the students’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

The program has selected 3,077 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977.

About the students:

Ciara Malaugh

Ciara Malaugh

Ciara Malaugh is a junior studying political science, French, and psychology from Huntsville and Ireland; she holds dual citizenship. A community and labor organizer, she does work on campus, in Tuscaloosa, in the state and nationwide on issues revolving around economic justice, garment workers, minimum wage and diversity.

She is a regional organizer for Alabama for United Students Against Sweatshops and a student representative on the board of the Workers Rights Consortium, an international nonprofit dedicated to inspecting garment factories. She is also vice president of the Alabama International Relations Club and a member of the Serbia Fellowship Experience.

Last summer, she interned with a hospitality union, UNITE HERE, in New Orleans. She hopes to combine her love of languages with her campaign experience in social justice and her immigrant background to work in the field of migrant justice, particularly with refugee populations. Her adviser is Dr. Robert Halli, dean emeritus of the Honors College. Her parents are James and Jacinta Malaugh.

Dana Sweeney is a rising senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in Mandarin Chinese and social innovation & leadership. He has been involved and held membership in several programs and organizations on campus, including the University Fellows Experience, Creative Campus, the 57 Miles Initiative and the Blackburn Institute.

Dana Sweeney

Dana Sweeney

Outside of campus, Sweeney has served as a White House Associate in the Office of Presidential Correspondence, as a Vote Everywhere Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, as a Presidential Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and as a Critical Language Scholar with the U.S. State Department in Dalian, China.

Informed by his experiences and many conversations with campus mentors (including, but not limited to his recommenders: Dr. Richard Fording of political science, Dr. Jennifer Purvis of women’s studies and Stephanie Brewer, coordinator of University Fellows), Sweeney plans to work at the intersections of storytelling and policy development, with a particular interest in determining how popular narratives of poverty, class and inequality are constructed and influence public assistance policy in the South.

This summer, Sweeney will study at Princeton University as a PPIA Fellow, which will allow him to continue exploring these issues and which will prepare him to earn a Master of Public Policy degree. His parents are Mary and Kevin Sweeney.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Richard LeComte, media relations,, 205/348-3782
  • SOURCE: Dr. Gary Sloan, professor of biological sciences and coordinator of prestige scholarships and awards, 205/348-8444,