Dominique DiSpirito, a third-year political science student at the University of Maine, has been announced as a Truman Scholarship finalist. The Truman Scholarship is meant to honor college students who wish to use their future careers in public service as a way to make the world a better place. Students who are awarded the Truman Scholarship are awarded $30,000 for graduate school expenses, as well as opportunities to network with people in their professional sphere. The scholarship also offers training opportunities for winners to strengthen their skills to better them for a public service career.
DiSpirito has been identified as a finalist for the Truman Scholarship but has a regional interview scheduled for March 31 which will determine how she moves forward in the process. A panel of Truman scholars from past years will interview her. By April 14, DiSpirito will be notified whether or not she has been officially named a Truman scholar.
DiSpirito, who is in the Honors College, will graduate with minors in interdisciplinary legal studies, ecology and environmental sciences, and is also very involved on campus.
“I am currently involved in a number of different ways on campus. I have been a research assistant in the School of Biology and Ecology since the summer of 2019 and I’m also working as a student intern for the Senator George J. Mitchell Center’s Food Waste Reduction Project,” DiSpirito said.
“I am also very involved in the Honors College both as an Honors College Student Ambassador and as the president of the Honors College Student Advisory Board since January 2020,” DiSpirito said. “I also helped establish the new UMaine Interfaith Group this semester and am currently serving as their president. I am also working to organize this year’s MDMP [Maine Day Meal Packout] hunger awareness campaign as the coordinator. I also co-organize the annual International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day Events each fall semester.”
Along with her involvement on campus, DiSpirito has stood out as a bright and promising student in the UMaine community. She wishes to continue her education after she earns her degree at UMaine. Currently, her plan is to attend law school and earn a master’s degree in environmental management to better prepare her for a career in public service.
“I look forward to continuing to build resilience through community-based environmental work,” DiSpirito said. “To start this off, I plan on applying to a dual degree program where I can get a J.D. and master’s in environmental management or policy. The two schools I am interested in going to that have this program are Vermont Law School and Yale Law School.”
DiSpirito acknowledged that many people in her life have led her to this successful path that she is currently on. Throughout her time at UMaine thus far, she feels that she’s made wonderful connections with people in the community. She credits UMaine with promoting student leaders and allowing them to thrive. Additionally, she notes that UMaine has a lot of fantastic resources for students that she has been able to turn to over the years. She is thankful that the university has allowed her to engage in so many community-based activities. Part of the reason why she applied for the Truman Scholarship was because of her love for community service.
“My passion for community service drives everything I do now and all my aspirations for the future. The Truman Scholarship recognizes students across the country who have demonstrated [the] potential to be a change agent through a career in public service. As someone who strives to strengthen their community, this scholarship stood out to me as an opportunity to access experiences, resources and networks that would further support my interests in a public service career,” DiSpirito said.
Working in environmental law will give DiSpirito opportunities to make a difference in a world that too often neglects the importance of nature and environmental policies. The last Truman Scholar from UMaine was awarded the title in 2008, meaning DiSpirito would be the first student in over a decade from this institution to win.