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Citadel News Service
22 Feb 2010

Cadet named Truman finalist

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The Citadel Office of Fellowships announced today that Cadet Noah Koubenec, a junior political science and Spanish major from Pilot Mountain, N.C., has been named a national finalist for a Truman Scholarship. He will interview for the award next month in Washington, D.C.

The Truman Scholarship funds graduate study at select colleges in preparation for careers in public service. Last year 60 scholars were chosen from 601 candidates nominated by 289 U.S. colleges and universities. Past Truman Scholars include Janet Napolitano, George Stephanopolous, and Jedediah Purdy. The Citadel's former Truman Scholars are David Rawlinson (1997) and Doug Schmid (2006).

In 2008 and 2009 Koubenec held the Star of the West International Summer Scholarship for coursework and research in Mexico City. Office of Fellowships director Col. Al Gurganus advised Koubenec through the year-long application process.

"A formative experience," Gurganus said, "occurred at age 15 when Noah joined a local church group on a summer service mission to Juárez, Mexico. He returned to North Carolina fired by the zeal to understand, at least, and perhaps to redress the frightful disparity of fate in the Americas."

Koubenec's goal is to serve as a Foreign Service Political Officer for the U.S. Department of State. Even as an undergraduate, he has developed expertise in U.S. policy to combat Mexican drug cartels.

"Cartels capitalize on poor education and high unemployment," Koubenec wrote in his Truman application. "By providing work, security, and even infrastructure, the cartels have gained a legitimacy that often surpasses that of the Mexican government, complicating the efforts of law enforcement to win grassroots cooperation."

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