Engineering student with public policy dreams named MSU's 19th Truman Scholar

Senior Chemical Engineering major Alicia Brown is university’s 19th Truman Scholar.

With a passion for energy conservation and public service, Mississippi State University senior Alicia Brown of Petal, Mississippi was announced MSU’s 19th recipient of the highly respected Harry S. Truman Scholarship April 11th .

The award offers recipients $30,000 for graduate school in exchange for their work in public service.

Initially, Brown said she was not planning to apply for the scholarship.

"I figured that since I was an engineering major, I wasn’t the ideal candidate," Brown said.

Though doubtful at her chances of being awarded the scholarship, Brown proceeded to apply and was reassured by her advisors she would be a very competitive candidate.

A chemical engineering major, Brown said her love for energy and policy stems from her dad who is an electrical engineer. 

"It became a passion, and I kept seeing it," Brown said.

However, Brown also excels outside of her field of study; she is a student in MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, a member of Speech and Debate, a volunteer at Ms. Smith’s Educational Services and a Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church.

As the 19th student at MSU to receive this award, and as Mississippi’s only recipient this year, Brown said she plans to fulfill her proposed policy of transitioning to cleaner energy sources and developing a response to climate change.

Brown said her work as an intern with the House committee during her sophomore year gave her more experience in the area of energy policy.

After undergraduate research related to energy, Brown said she one day hopes to work as a congressional staffer that continues to shape energy policy.

Dr. Eric Vivier, an assistant professor of English at MSU, a faculty fellow of the Judy and Bobby Shackoul’s Honor College and Brown’s former professor, described Brown as an exceptionally gifted student that has always been very outspoken and passionate. 

"She does not back away from an argument, ever, in the best possible way," Vivier said.

Vivier said Brown is always encouraging and pushing those around her to be their very best. He said he has known Brown since her freshman year at the university and was ecstatic when he heard she had won the Truman Scholarship.

"I think it is fantastic for Alicia, fantastic for the university and fantastic for the Honors College," Vivier said.

Vivier said he believes this scholarship will assist Brown in her passion to influence energy policy.

"I think that Alicia Brown has a role to play in very difficult conversations about the future of energy policy in this country," Vivier said.

Carley Bowers, a junior at MSU and a close friend of Brown, said she was very excited when she found out her friend was being awarded the Truman Scholarship.

Bowers, a senior marketing major, said Brown loves people, and she believes the scholarship selection board recognized that.

"Alicia gave 100% to this Truman selection board and I’m so glad that they saw that because she is so deserving," Bowers said.

Bowers said she knows Brown will continue to do leading work in the field of energy policy.

"I think her background in chemical engineering and her desire to work on environmental policy, coupled with her passion for individuals will really make her unstoppable," Bowers said.

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