Catherine Hadley, the University of Michigan’s newest Truman Scholar, is passionate about public service, leadership and family.
A junior in LSA who plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 2022, Hadley is the 28th U-M recipient of the prestigious scholarship that provides up to $30,000 for the graduate education and professional development of outstanding young people committed to public service leadership.
“Receiving the Truman is a great honor,” Hadley said. “I will use this great gift as another tool to elevate the voices of those I serve in my community and continue to advocate for a better, more equitable, and just America.”
She joins a cohort of 62 Truman Scholars selected from a pool of 845 candidates nominated by 328 colleges and universities.
Scholar selection is based on a variety of criteria, including academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as the recipients’ likelihood of becoming public service leaders.
There have been 3,384 Truman Scholars named since the first awards in 1977. Hadley said she applied in part because of the opportunity to engage with this larger network.
“I am looking forward to linking to this wide array of change agents who can help me navigate leadership and service,” she said. “The Truman scholarship community will help me create a more considerable impact, creating systemic changes to make the world a better place.”
As a mother of two, Hadley said her family also plays a large role in her dedication to public service. “My toddlers often tell people I am in school to save the world, so I have to work hard to live up to their expectations of me,” she said.
In addition to founding BirthSafe.org, a maternal-health-specific review website, Hadley has lobbied for maternal health bills in Michigan and Washington, D.C. She is on a steering committee of the Hungry for Justice SNAP expansion coalition, and in September 2020, her group helped pass Michigan legislation that exempted persons convicted of certain felonies from being denied food assistance.
She also has interned with the Michigan Women’s Commission and worked with Eli Savit on his race for Washtenaw County prosecutor in 2020. This spring, she is working at Patriotic Millionaires as a junior associate through the Michigan in Washington Program.
Hadley has been accepted into the 2022 Master of Social Work cohort at U-M and considering a dual master’s degree in public health. After finishing her educational pursuits, she intends to launch a career in the political sphere in Michigan.
Hadley also is a 2021 recipient of the Rosalie Ginsberg Dedicated Community Service Award.
“We are thrilled that Cat has been selected as a 2021 Truman Scholar,” said LSA Dean Anne Curzan. “I am deeply impressed by all she has accomplished at U-M in just one year since she transferred, on top of all she accomplished before coming to LSA.
“Her commitment to public service, to being an advocate for underserved communities and applying her skill set to create lasting social change, is nothing short of inspirational. She is the epitome of what it means to be a leader and a student at LSA. This honor is much deserved.”