Cadet garners prestigious Truman Scholarship
Cadet Noah Koubenec, a junior Spanish and political science major from Pilot Mountain, N.C., has been named one of 60 Truman Scholars nationwide. The announcement was made Tuesday by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who serves as president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. The successful candidates were elected by 16 independent selection panels on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability, and the likelihood of making a difference.
This year's scholars were selected from 576 nominees attending 245 colleges and universities. Koubenec was one of six finalists from North Carolina.
Named for President Harry S. Truman, who realized the importance of fostering young leaders, the Truman Scholarship funds graduate study in preparation for careers in government and public service. Scholars are accorded specialized leadership training and select internships with federal agencies. Past Truman Scholars include Janet Napolitano, George Stephanopolous, and Jedediah Purdy. The Citadel's former Truman Scholars are David Mills (1984), 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," said Gurganus, "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 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 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," he 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."
In five semesters at The Citadel, Koubenec has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average in a rigorous honors program whose students are pushed to conduct and present independent research. “We are all proud of Cadet Koubenec’s success,” said Citadel President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa. “This is an extraordinary achievement and underscores the breadth and quality of a Citadel education.”