The sun is shining so let’s stay positive for the open line with a tribute to a couple of promising young Arkansans on this year’s list of Truman scholars, the congressional program created 40 years ago to encourage public service with scholarships for graduate study.


Meet the Arkansas winners and the biographies provided by the scholarship program:

Samia Ismail
Fort Smith
University of Arkansas

Samia is studying biomedical engineering. She currently balances a passion for genetic research with involvement in local and state politics.

Through her involvement in the Associated Student Government, she serves as the Co-Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and has created platforms for minority student organizations to increase their visibility and address ongoing issues such as microaggressions and hate speech within campus institutions. As Vice Chair of the Distinguished Lectures Committee, she fought for the opportunity to host the committee’s first LGBTQ+ focused speaker, Laverne Cox.

In response to legislation forcing public campuses to allow concealed carry, she successfully elected Democratic State Representatives Nicole Clowney, the founder of the Northwest Arkansas chapter of Mom’s Demand Action, and Denise Garner, who defeated the legislator championing the campus carry bill. Following the election, she has continued her work with the Washington County Democratic Party as the newly elected Vice Chair of Youth and Ally Engagement, where she is establishing connections with young democrats, people of color, and LGBTQ+ members in the community and expanding the potential of Southern Democrats.

Additionally, Samia is a peer mentor in the College of Engineering and an Honors College Ambassador. After graduation, Samia plans to pursue an MD/MPP dual degree from the University of Michigan, and wants to create policy that ensures equitable access to healthcare.

Robert Norwood
Siloam Springs
United States Military Academy

Robert is majoring in computer science with a minor in Latin America regional studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is the cadet in charge of the Cadet Media Group and spends much of his free time working to end the problem of sexual harassment and assault at West Point.

He is also on the West Point Cyber Policy team and enjoys applying concepts from cyber and information war to find new ways to solve old problems. He is also a Stamps Scholar.

After graduation, Robert hopes to continue reducing gender inequality as an officer in the newly gender-integrated armor branch of the United States Army. Robert gives all the credit to anything he has accomplished to Jesus Christ. His goal is to help others to learn to use their actions to value others.

I hope Robert meets Sen. Tom Cotton someday to talk with Arkansas’s junior senator about the views he’s expressed on women in combat