Annie Morrison has always been interested in health care issues, especially those pertaining to women. Growing up in the Ozark Mountains area of West Plains, southeast of Springfield, Morrison credits her social awareness to her family and the community in which she grew up.
Now an English and biology major in her junior year at MU, Morrison’s interest and involvement in health care and public service are paying off. Morrison was one of only 75 students from across the country to be selected as a Truman Scholar, which recognizes undergraduates’ future dedication to the field of public service. It also comes with a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school.
About two years ago, Morrison began the Women of Worth program, which stemmed from her final project for a service-learning course she took as a sophomore. The program is made up of about 35 college-age women who serve as mentors to young girls and teen mothers in the community. Morrison said WOW has two goals: the empowerment and education of young girls and assisting teenage mothers and their children with health care issues.
“We have found that strong role models can plant seeds in young women’s head,” Morrison said, “that really in-spires their confidence and success.”
Morrison used her interest in health care as her platform in her Truman Scholar application. She said the compre-hensive application , made up of 10 essays, took almost five weeks to prepare. Along with the essays, each applicant had to submit an extensive resume, detailing all public service works completed dating back to high school. Applicants also went through mock interviews to prepare for the final interview process, which involved questions ranging from candidates’ favorite books to current events.
“I think I lived on CNN.com for four weeks,” said Morrison.
As a finalist, Morrison receives a $30,000 scholarship to be applied toward graduate school, along with priority con-sideration for admission. Finalists are also considered for internships with the federal government, according to a release from the MU News Bureau.
“I’m honored to receive this scholarship because it proves that the Truman Foundation considers health care as a relevant national concern,” said Morrison.
Morrison said the selection committee has traditionally focused less on health care compared to other social and political issues. She said she believes her selection indicates a shifting focus of national leaders to include the future of American health.
Morrison plans to attend medical school with the intent to become a family practitioner or a women’s health physi-cian. She said she has already been exposed to opportunities from her selection as a scholar that she had not antici-pated and has met many people who share her passion about health care issues. She said she hopes the scholarship will open more doors for her in her pursuit of those issues.
“I believe my experiences within the Truman Foundation will provide me with the unique opportunity to apply critical and creative thinking skills to issues of health care,” said Morrison. “It’s a huge honor to be selected as a scholar.”