AMES, Iowa — An Iowa State University student is one of 58 undergraduates nationwide to be named the 2022 Truman Scholars.
Natalia Ríos Martínez, senior in political science, international studies and public relations of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was selected from 705 applicants nominated by 275 universities across the United States. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship in the United States for those pursuing a career in public service leadership.
Each new Truman Scholars receives up to $30,000 for higher education. Scholars also receive priority admission and additional financial aid at select leading graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have exceptional leadership potential and communication skills, demonstrate academic excellence, and be committed to careers in public service.
After graduation, Ríos Martínez wants to work for the US Department of Justice as part of the Course program. She previously interned at the DOJ’s Community Relations Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Ríos Martínez plans to pursue a master’s degree in American government at Georgetown University, as well as a joint law degree and doctorate. in government to practice law, specializing in public policy.
His goal is to one day be a trial attorney for the DOJ and represent Puerto Rico in Congress on a platform to alleviate social injustices in the territory and help restructure its health care system.
“When I moved to Iowa, I had access to better medical coverage and I want those same benefits on Puerto Rican soil,” Ríos Martínez wrote in his application. “I would use my position to cultivate health parity on the island for civilians and veterans so they don’t have to leave the island to improve their health.”
As trial counsel, Ríos Martínez said she would “decrease incarceration using a preventative approach by increasing access to health care in underrepresented populations.” She attributes her success to the extraordinary support of the UIS Honors Program and his mother.
As a student at Iowa State, she established the Political Science Club, a nonpartisan student organization focused on professional, academic, and social development. Ríos Martínez has served on the board of directors of CyRide and the conference committee of the ISU, was a mentor in the association of Puerto Rican students and was president of the action network Save the Children.
She is currently conducting research on legal deserts as a research assistant in the sociology department. Ríos Martínez previously interned with the Iowa Department of Transportation Civil Rights Office and the Iowa House of Representatives. She is also currently working as a Government Contract Assistant for the ISU Center for Industrial Research and Service.