Petrose Wins Truman Scholarship

Issue Date: 
May 2, 2016

University of Pittsburgh junior Lia Petrose has been awarded a 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. 

Lia PetrosePetrose is one of only 54 students in the nation awarded the Truman Scholarship this year. The scholars were chosen from a pool of 775 candidates from 305 educational institutions, a record number of applicants and institutions. Petrose is Pitt’s 12th Truman Scholar.

Congress established the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975 to commemorate the 33rd U.S. President. A highly competitive, merit-based federal scholarship, the honor awards $30,000 to outstanding college juniors for graduate school and professional development in preparation for a career in public service leadership.

Petrose will receive the honor during a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., on May 29.

“Lia is an exceptional individual whose dedication to international health care access sets her apart from her peers,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Our University community is proud of Lia and excited for her future.” 

“When I think of the core values of the University Honors College—academic attainment, intellectual curiosity, and social consciousness—I think of Lia Petrose,” said Pitt’s University Honors College Dean Edward M. Stricker.  “She is a remarkable person who has a clear vision of her life’s goals as well as the drive, intellect, and resolve needed to fulfill them.”

Stricker, who is also a University Professor of Neuroscience, taught Petrose in the course Topics in Neuroscience Research during the fall 2014 semester. “Lia’s selection as a Truman Scholar speaks to her distinguished academic record and her dedication to the greater good of humanity. It has been a great pleasure for me to witness her personal growth over the past three years.”

Petrose is majoring in economics, neuroscience, and international and area studies. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the University Honors College as well as a bachelor’s degree from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Petrose expects to graduate from Pitt in August 2017.

Next fall, she will travel to England to study the natural sciences at Jesus College, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Her year abroad comes through the Pitt Honors: Cambridge program, which provides one Pitt student a year the opportunity to study at Jesus College. Petrose is the third student selected for the program. 

Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, Petrose plans to enroll in a medical degree program that provides training in clinical practice, research, and public health policy. She aims to build a career creating sustainable health care systems for underserved populations in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa.

During the summers of her freshman and sophomore years at Pitt, Petrose conducted field research in Malawi, helping to develop health information management systems for hospitals in low-resource communities.

As an undergraduate researcher, Petrose is involved in Parkinson’s disease research within the biological sciences lab of Pitt Professor John M. Rosenberg. She also has conducted research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her work has been published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance.

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Petrose immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. A resident of Laurel, Md., she arrived at Pitt in fall 2013 with support from the University’s Helen S. Faison Scholarship. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has been an active campus leader. She recently completed a term as an elected member of Pitt’s Student Government Board. She is also a member of the University Honors College’s Dean’s Advisory Board and is a University Honors College ambassador. Petrose serves on the Provost’s Committee for the Year of the Humanities in the University, the Board of Trustee’s Committee on Academic Affairs, and the Chancellor’s Working Group for Educational Excellence.

Petrose was inducted into the national honor society Omicron Delta Kappa as a sophomore as well as the Phi Beta Kappa Society as a junior.