South Kingstown resident, activist named Truman Scholar

Andrew Boardman awarded $30,000 to pursue internship, graduate school

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KINGSTON, R.I.,  April 12, 2018 — Income inequality in the United States, economic stagnation, health care disparities, enhancing educational and economic opportunities for the working class and helping women win elections are among the causes that drive Andrew Boardman.

Now, the University of Rhode Island Honors Program junior economics major will have a chance to pursue those issues more intensively as the University’s newest Harry S. Truman Scholar. The 15th Truman Scholar from URI, Boardman has been awarded a $30,000 scholarship, which will assist him in his pursuit of a master’s degree in public policy and an internship with an agency that deals with economic and social justice issues.

After he graduates in 2019, the South Kingstown High School graduate will participate in an eight-week Truman Summer Institute designed to help expand students’ understanding of policy and policy-making through participation in seminars and  presentations.

Candidates for the Truman Scholarship go through a rigorous, multi-stage selection process. This year, there were 756 candidates for the award nominated by 311 colleges and universities, a record number of institutions. The 194 finalists for the award were interviewed in March and early April by one of 16 regional selection panels. Boardman is one of 59 Truman Scholars selected in 2018, and he will join his fellow awardees for a May 27 ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo.

Earlier this week, President David M. Dooley, Professor Richard McIntyre, chair of the Department of Economics, Kathleen Maher, assistant director of national fellowships and academic opportunities in the Honors Program, Philosophy Professor Cheryl Foster, Dean of Arts and Sciences Jeannette Riley and Associate Professor Lynne Derbyshire, director of the Honors Program, went to Assistant Professor of Economics Smita Ramnarain’s class to surprise Boardman with the news.

It was an incredible and unexpected honor to be congratulated by President Dooley and everyone else who came to my class. I never expected such an outpouring of support from the University,” Boardman said.

“Andy is an outstanding example of the kind of student we have here at the University,” President David M. Dooley. “He is engaged in serious and challenging work in and out of the classroom, is committed to making this country a true land of opportunity through his internships and public service and he has the courage to pursue causes that draw the ire of many in public life today. We are deeply proud of Andrew and congratulate him on being named a Truman Scholar.”

Boardman said equity, women’s access to the political process and economic opportunity are issues that have captured his attention for some time.

Boardman gained hands-on experience in policy research, analysis, and implementation during his time as a policy intern at Rhode Island’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity. He now advocates for legislation and candidates as a board member of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island, and he is also an associate member of Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus. On campus, he is president of the URI Democrats and president and a founding member of the URI Economics Student Association. He treasurer of the URI Debate Union and is an economics tutor at the Academic Enhancement Center.

Receiving this award is such an affirmation of what I have been working on,” Boardman said. “I have worked on these issues on a local and state level, but my end goal is to be a policy advisor at the federal level because that is where policy change can have the greatest impact. I have been actively researching (former President Barack) Obama’s Economic Council and its priorities. I want to work on the most important issues in the economy.”

He said he owes most of his success to his parents, Liz, formerly the editor of The South County Independent, now city editor of the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, and his father, Bill Boardman, formerly the town engineer in South Kingstown, who now holds that post in Newport.

“Their going to work every day to enhance and promote the public good absolutely influenced me,” said.

He is also grateful for the support of Associate Professor of Economics Liam Malloy and Honors Program associate director,  and Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics Theresa Devine and Maher.

“I also want to thank the economics department for an incredible education and all of the faculty who have supported me,” Boardman said. “I can’t forget all of the great URI students with whom I have worked who are as passionate about the issues as I am.”

TRUMAN SCHOLAR: South Kingstown resident and URI economics major Andrew Boardman, one of 59 Truman Scholarship winners from across the country, poses outside Lippitt Hall, home of the URI Honors Program. URI photo by Kathleen Maher