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WKU junior selected as finalist for prestigious Truman Scholarship

Cory Dodds, a WKU political science major from Smithland, was selected as a finalist for the highly competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Cory Dodds

A junior in the Honors College at WKU, Dodds hopes to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture shaping rural development policies.

Dodds was one of two Kentuckians named finalists for this prestigious award. WKU was one of 292 universities that nominated students for the Truman Scholarship, which is open to juniors dedicated to a career in public service, recognizes service and leadership and provides funding for graduate education.

Dodds’ active participation in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and WKU Student Government Association (SGA) and commitment to future service earned him a place as a finalist this year.

The son of Debbie and Randall Dodds, he has been active in FFA since his freshman year of high school. Through this affiliation, he developed his passion for rural development. Dodds served as the Kentucky FFA State Sentinel and a delegate to the National FFA Convention. Even after leaving state office, he continued to support the National FFA Organization as an alumnus and worked at the Kentucky FFA Leadership Training Center for the past three summers.

After leaving his statewide position in FFA, Dodds became involved with SGA as the director of information technology, a position he has held for two years. The university community recently elected him as SGA president for the 2012-2013 and he will represent students as a regent on WKU’s governing board.

“I have promoted transparency and accountability by creating a legislation and minutes archive on the website,” he said. “Furthermore, I helped develop several new SGA signature services, such as WKUOffCampus.com and the transcript voucher program.”

Dodds received encouragement to apply for the Truman Scholarship from Dr. David M. Coffey, professor of agriculture, and Ami Carter, coordinator of academic advising in the Honors College.

“I am thankful for all the wonderful teachers and instructors in my life,” Dodds said. “Without the encouragement of my teachers, dating back to elementary school to my professors here on the Hill, I wouldn’t be accomplishing the things that I am.”

“Cory epitomizes dedication, academic performance, and decision-making based on analysis. He has a clear vision for his future in rural and food policy and will achieve it,” Dr. Coffey, Dodd’s Honors thesis advisor, said.

During the application process for the Truman scholarship, Dodds sought the counsel of Dr. Audra Jennings, director of the Office of Scholar Development, to help refine his application and work with him on interview preparation and technique.

“It was a pleasure to work with Cory,” Dr. Jennings said. “He has a demonstrated record of service and effective leadership on the local, state and national levels. He is the kind of person who recognizes problems around him and takes action to remedy them, and he is the kind of leader who motivates others to engage in the process.”

About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping students on all campuses and in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in the Harry S. Truman scholarship program or other similar opportunities. Call to schedule an appointment with the Office of Scholar Development at (270) 745-5043.

Contact: Dr. Audra Jennings, (270) 745-5043 or audra.jennings@wku.edu

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