Two Columbia College Juniors named 2024 Truman Scholars

Congratulations to Columbia’s 2024 Truman Scholars!

Columbia University is proud to announce that two undergraduate students, Alex Taylor CC’25 and Wena Teng CC’25, have been named 2024 Truman Scholars!

The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States and this year’s 60 new Truman Scholars were selected from 709 candidates nominated by 285 colleges and universities, with Columbia University recognized as one of only a handful of institutions with multiple named scholars.

Established by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Harry S. Truman and national monument to public service, the Truman Scholarship carries the legacy of President Truman by supporting and inspiring the next generation of public service leaders. Truman Scholars demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector, and academic excellence. Each Truman Scholar receives funding for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling, and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government. Read more about this year’s competition and the full press release here. Read about our Truman Scholars below:

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Alex Taylor is majoring in political science. He serves as Vice President of the Columbia Political Union, Program Coordinator for the Eric H. Holder Jr. Initiative, and Justice Intern for the Brennan Center for Justice. During his freshman year of college, Alex co-founded "Reachout!" an initiative to empower marginalized high school students with the resources to create competitive college resumes. As a current Obama-Chesky Scholar, Alex has a broad interest in movements to end mass incarceration and looks forward to exploring this on an international scale. His background in prison volunteering, interning as an Investigator for the Bronx Defenders, and researching death penalty litigation at Columbia Law School has compelled him to pursue a career in criminal justice reform. As a Truman Scholar, he plans to pursue a JD with an emphasis on progressive prosecution. In his free time, Alex enjoys cooking, attending jazz concerts, watching TV shows, and reading science fiction novels.

Born in Queens, New York, and growing up between New York and Asia, Wena Teng is a first-generation college student, double majoring in Race & Ethnicity Studies and History. Inspired by immigrant street vendors, she has worked with the Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project since high school on mobilizing policy to accommodate licenses and legal resources for vendors. Her passion in labor legislation, law, and global migration has inspired her work as an intern with NGOs in Taipei, the Biden White House, DEI Director of Columbia Undergraduate Law Review, and as a research assistant exploring the legal history of immigration. On campus, she is a Laidlaw Scholar, University Senator, and co-President of Asian American Alliance. She intends to pursue a joint JD/MPP with a focus on creating multilateral policies that serve to reconcile the gaps in labor law that have historically excluded protections for migrant workers. In her free time, she enjoys writing prose, practicing her Chinese harp, and creating intergenerational friendships with street vendors on food crawls around NYC.

Columbia students interested in learning more about applying for the Truman Scholarship program are encouraged to connect with Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.