By Mike Strasser
WEST POINT, N.Y. (April 11, 2013) — Class of 2014 Cadets Erin Mauldin and Ahmad Nasir were among 62 students from 54 colleges and universities across the nation to be named 2013 Truman Scholars.
"I am honored and humbled to be a part of the group of Truman Scholars," Mauldin said. "It was a team effort to get here, and I really appreciate the support from my mentors, teachers, classmates, and family."
Mauldin, from Albuquerque, N.M., is an international history and environmental science double major who has been instrumental in the Corps of Cadets’ energy and environmental initiatives. Though the position wasn’t formalized yet, she volunteered as the brigade energy and environmental noncommissioned officer her sophomore year.
“It showed great initiative on her part,” Maj. Andrew Pfluger, an assistant professor and executive officer in the Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering, said. “Since then, she has been heavily involved in promoting energy and environmental awareness and stewardship in the Corps, especially with programs such as RecycleMania.”
She was one of five cadets on an interdisciplinary research team working on a waste-to-energy project in 2012. They presented their research at the inaugural Rapid Equipping Force Grand Challenge last May and spent a few weeks in western Uganda fielding their Bio-Gas Digester System at the Kasiisi primary school.
"The most rewarding part about the Uganda experience was working with the local community—the kids, the teachers and the administrators of the school and the Ugandan company—to build the biogas-producing digester that actually met their needs in a sustainable manner," Mauldin said.
An avid mountaineer, Mauldin also represents the U.S. Military Academy at the annual Sandhurst Military Skills Competition and is the first West Point female cadet to have completed French Commando School, the four-week course in Mont-Louis, France.
"Being the platoon leader for my platoon in France during Commando school during the last week was probably one of the roughest military training experiences I had," Mauldin said. "No sleep and a foreign language combined with a mission that involved rappelling and land navigation in the middle of the night made for a challenging exercise."
Nasir, from Anchorage, Alaska, is an American Politics and Arabic double major. He is the founder and head of Team Red, White & Blue in his home state—an organization dedicated to transforming the way veterans reintegrate into society through team environments and personal connectivity.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to have been named a Truman Scholar, and I look forward to joining a community of change agents that are so committed to the notion of public service,” Nasir said. “I am also very grateful for the support I have received from my mentors, friends, and family over the past three years.”
Nasir has worked as a congressional intern and participated in a cultural exchange with the Sultanate of Oman. He is a native Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi speaker and has studied abroad in Morocco.
His brother Hamid, a Class of 2013 cadet, was a 2012 recipient of the Truman Scholarship.
Mauldin and Nasir will have the opportunity to further their education with a scholarship valued at approximately $30,000 for two years at any accredited university in the world. West Point cadets have earned 31 Truman Scholarships since first competing in 1992. There have been 2,906 scholars selected since the awards were established in 1977.
"I plan to use the scholarship after serving for several years in the Army to pursue graduate studies at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs," Mauldin said. "I am interested in working at the intersection of people, society, and the environment, and bringing that awareness to the military."
Nasir hopes to use his education and military experience to help bridge the divide between U.S. and South Asian military officers in order to forge stronger bilateral relationships in the region.
“With the scholarship I hope to pursue a Masters in Public Policy in International and Global Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, to prepare myself for a career as a soldier-statesman,” Nasir said.
The names were announced April 10 by the Truman Scholarship Foundation with more than 600 finalists competing for the prestigious national award. The U.S. Military Academy was one of only eight institutions to have multiple Truman Scholar recipients.
“Cadets Erin Mauldin and Ahmad Nasir are tremendous representatives of West Point's Corps of Cadets and highly deserving recipients of Truman Scholarships. Our cadets continue to receive great recognition in national and international scholarship competitions. This is an acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication of our cadets and the commitment of our faculty,” said Dean of the Academic Board, Brig. Gen. Timothy Trainor.