Stamps Scholars Christian Boudreaux, Sophia Stewart, and Anitvir Taunque have won Truman Scholarships for 2024. These remarkable students demonstrate exceptional commitment to academic excellence, public service, and innovative problem-solving, joining 15 Stamps Scholars who have previously received the scholarship.

The Truman Scholarship is awarded to select aspiring leaders when they are juniors in college, recognizing and rewarding their commitments to careers in public service. This year, the Truman Foundation awarded scholarships to 60 students from 54 different institutions across the country.

Christian Boudreaux (University of Mississippi)

Christian Boudreaux, from Oxford, Mississippi, studies biology with minors in chemistry, Spanish, and environmental studies at Ole Miss. Driven by his passions for research and marine conservation, Boudreaux plans to obtain a PhD after graduation, then aims to inform marine conservation and management strategies through engagement with policy briefing and policymaking. His ultimate goal is to work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the director of a laboratory, investigating the intersection between genetics, climate change, and marine conservation.

Boudreaux has been highly involved with research for much of his life.  At Ole Miss, he previously worked on competition experiments between bacteriophage, tetrahymena, and Pseudomonas fluorescens, and he is currently working on a synthesis paper about the concept of “chimerism”, the presence of genetically distinct cells within a single individual. Furthermore, he recently completed a project about the effect of ploidy on early oyster larval tolerance of salinity and temperature, which was published.

His campus involvements extend well beyond the lab. In his first year of college, he was discouraged by the absence of aquatic service opportunities available on campus. Thus, he created Aqua Culture, a club that introduces students to the aquatic systems that surround Ole Miss’s campus and educates them on the importance of water quality and aquatic preservation. In addition, as a freshman, he became the president of a tree planting organization named Hill Country Roots (HCR). Through HCR he has organized the planting and upkeep of a 1,500 sapling tree farm at his campus field station. He also plays on the club soccer team, is the STEM editor for the school’s undergraduate research journal, participates in a birding club, attends a bi-weekly Spanish-speaking exchange, and tutors high school students who are non-native English speakers.

He has taken full advantage of his Stamps enrichment funds by studying abroad in Spain, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Japan, and he is now in Zanzibar for the semester. Additionally, he has conducted coral research and learned coral husbandry in Israel.

Sophia Stewart (United States Air Force Academy)

Sophia Stewart, who is from Woodstock, Georgia, studies political science and foreign area studies with a minor in Japanese at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). Fueled by her interests in data analytics and public policy, she aims to become an agent for the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations and work in criminal investigations.

Stewart’s campus involvements reflect her dedication to bringing about positive societal change. On campus, she is a member of a research team which focuses on reducing gender-based harassment and violence. Last March, she used her Stamps enrichment funds to travel to Iceland, where she spoke with experts about why countries with high gender equality, such as Nordic countries, still have high rates of gender-based violence. She plans to extend these efforts over the summer to other Nordic countries which experience this same phenomenon.

Outside of her research efforts, Stewart is involved with USAFA’s Narration Team, the members of which are responsible for narrating/emceeing various events at USAFA. She is also a member of Combatives Club, which focuses on combat skills; Jazz Club; and the Teal Rope program, which promotes sexual assault awareness and prevention. Stewart reports that, of her accomplishments, she is most proud of her experience as a Cadet Cadre in the Basic Cadet Training program, which she believes was the most fulfilling and rewarding leadership experience she has had.

Regarding the Truman Scholarship, she shared, “I am most excited to be part of Truman’s community of public servants and leaders. The Truman Scholars I know in USAFA’s faculty and student body have been inspirations to me since I entered the Academy; I am excited to meet the rest of the 2024 Truman Scholars and continue my development.”

 Anitvir Taunque (The Ohio State University)

Anitvir Taunque, who is from West Chester, Ohio, studies biomedical science with a minor in computer information systems (CIS) at The Ohio State University. Driven by his commitment to healthcare advocacy and public service, Taunque plans to attend medical school after graduation, ultimately pursuing a degree as an academic neurosurgeon. He also aims to be involved in policy decision making to improve both health literacy and access to innovative care.

His commitment to medicine and science reflects in his on-campus pursuits. Taunque is an undergraduate research assistant in the Samaranch Laboratory within the Department of Neurosurgery, where he and his team design novel gene therapeutic approaches for rare neurological genetic disorders. The majority of his work is focused on non-human primates, allowing the team to quickly translate their findings from the bench to the clinic setting. Additionally, he is the founder and co-president of OSU Red Saree, a nonprofit devoted to raising awareness for and decreasing the prevalence of heart disease in diverse populations. Finally, he volunteers at the Noor community Clinic as well as the Columbus Free Clinic, where he works with diverse patient populations and connects them with affordable care.

Outside of the medical field, Taunque helped build ServUS Volunteering Corp, a sustainability start-up empowering and incentivizing students to volunteer for causes they are passionate about.  He is also a Buckeye Leadership Fellow, where he participates in a 2-year leadership training intensive that helps push students to think critically and grow their impact. Additionally, he plans to take advantage of this Stamps enrichment fund by studying health systems in Estonia and attending researching conferences.

Regarding the Truman Scholarship, he shared, “I am super excited to take a more active role within our government and learn about how health policy specifically can be implemented to create large scale change.”

These Scholars join a legacy of excellence. The Truman Scholarship has previously been awarded to Stamps Scholars from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, the University of Chicago, the University of Miami, the University of Mississippi, Purdue University, and Wake Forest University. Stamps Scholar alumni also include Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Knight-Hennessy Scholars, Churchill Scholars, Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, and Schwarzman Scholars.

About the Stamps Scholars Program

The Stamps Scholars Program was founded by E. Roe Stamps and his late wife Penny in 2006, with the purpose of enabling extraordinary educational experiences for extraordinary students. Through partnerships with institutions across the nation (and into the U.K.), Scholars receive annual awards that range from $6,000 to $88,400 (four-year awards total an average of $24,000-$353,600) with additional funds for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences, and leadership training. The Stamps Scholars Program and partner schools evenly share the costs of the award. Penny Stamps passed away in December 2018, but her legacy continues through the Stamps Scholars community, which has grown into an international network with more than 3,250 Scholars and alumni.

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For more information, contact:

Connelly Crowe

Director of Communications and Scholar Experience