Michigan State University’s Hutchins and Phillips selected as finalists for Truman Scholarship

Devin Hutchins (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Representing Hernando, Devin Hutchins, a student majoring in both philosophy and economics, and Joshua Phillips, a double major in political science and economics from Birmingham, Alabama, have been named finalists for a prestigious graduate fellowship dedicated to those embarking on careers in public service.

Joshua Phillips
Joshua Phillips (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Delving into leadership roles, Hutchins, a talented participant in the Delta Scholars Summer Institute, and an accomplished debater with the International Public Debate Association, aims to pave the way for Magnolia State residents as a civil rights attorney and potentially as an elected official in the future.

“The study of law has always intrigued me as a dynamic force that can shape the course of society. I see it as a responsibility to maintain balance and justice within our legal system. My dream is to contribute to upholding freedom and promoting justice for the next generation,” Hutchins expressed. “The unwavering support, guidance, and educational tools provided by Mississippi State University have guided me along this journey. This supportive environment is the standard here.”

Phillips, recipient of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Presidential Endowed Scholarship, originally from Australia, has developed a keen interest in global affairs, particularly focusing on the Middle East and North Africa regions following his transition to the U.S. Engaging in educational ventures at the University of Oxford and the International University of Rabat, Phillips is expanding his knowledge base.

Phillips envisions his future taking on a diplomatic role as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State after completing his graduate studies.

“Exploring different cultures and politics through my experiences abroad has significantly broadened my perspectives on the Middle East. My goal is to leverage my international background to enhance collaboration between the U.S. and local governments, delving into regional dynamics through the lens of the local populace,” Phillips explained.

David Hoffman, the director of the MSU Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, emphasized the dedication of Hutchins and Phillips in addressing global issues through their pursuit of careers in public service, highlighting them as exemplars of Truman Scholars.

“Both individuals have seized the opportunities presented to them during their time at MSU. Devin participated in the Delta Scholars program and the Public Policy Leadership Conference at Harvard, while Joshua excelled in securing the Critical Language Scholarship, partaking in our Oxford University study abroad program, and engaging in various internships,” Hoffman acknowledged. “Their active involvement on and off campus in addressing community challenges sets them apart, reflecting their solid commitments beyond academic realms.”

The Truman Foundation’s Finalist Selection Committee has shortlisted 191 finalists from 136 institutions for interviews with the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels between March 1 and April 3. During the 2024 application cycle, the foundation received a total of 709 applications from 285 institutions.

For more insights on the Shackouls Honors College, visit www.honors.msstate.edu.

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