EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article reported that Andrew Schumann would graduate next year with two bachelor's degrees. This has been since changed to his correct graduation date this semester.
Six associate degrees in high school from Central New Mexico Community College, an anticipated graduation with two bachelor's degrees this semester and a planned master's in history in the spring 2024: University of New Mexico student Andrew Schumann can now also add the Truman Scholarship to this already impressive resume.
The Truman Scholarship awards juniors in college with $30,000 for post-graduate education, counseling and employment opportunities. The committee selects 200 finalists from applicants. Finalists are then interviewed at a regional conference, with one candidate chosen from each state, according to the scholarship’s website.
The scholarship places an emphasis on public service, and Schumann plans to use his historical background to analyze current issues surrounding class and racial inequities with an understanding of how they have been dealt with in the past.
“Politicians, they think of things in very short-term capacities, and as a result, systemic issues like poverty, racial injustice, environmental degradation are not being addressed adequately,” Schumann said. “Thinking about these issues with history in mind, when you combine history and politics, you get kind of a roadmap for where we should go.”
His interest in public service is rooted in his family's history with union struggles, including his grandfather who was an organizer with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Pipe Fitters. His mom was also involved with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
“Growing up in a low-income household and being of union roots, I want to use my historical and policy know-how to prevent future generations from dealing with a generational poverty that I've lived with,” Schumann said.
During the regional interview in Phoenix, Arizona, Schumann’s policy proposal dealt with abolishing cash bail. During the defense of his proposal in front of the Arizona attorney general and chief justice, he utilized his historical background in what he said was a challenging but rewarding part of the process.
“A lot of people … will say that that's too radical, that's going too far too fast. To that, I would say, as a historian, there have been many issues in the past that solving them sounded like a pipe dream … When we look back, we have a tendency to think that those reforms were inevitable, but of course they weren't,” Schumann said.
Despite the challenges the process has brought, Schumann said it has taught him a lot about himself and what he hopes to do in the future.
“The process of applying for these prestigious scholarships, whether you get them or not, really teaches you a lot about your argumentation style, your core beliefs and ideas,” Schumann said. “And it challenges you, it really does.”
Throughout the process, Schumann said the people he has worked with have been the most influential, whether that be his advisors and mentors at UNM, including Cory Muñoz, Kiyoko Simmons, Michael Rocca, Jason Scott Smith and David Weiss or the other finalists he has met along the way who share the same values for process and change.
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“I've had a degree of mentorship here and a degree of one-on-one mentorship that I feel like wouldn't have been possible at a larger, more prestigious institution,” Schumann said.
During his education career, Schumann has been involved in several different programs that involve public service including interning for representative Teresa Leger Fernañdez, state senators Katy Duhigg and Michael Padilla, and Albuquerque mayor Tim Keller. Schumann has also rebuilt the New Mexico College Democrats Club at UNM.
While he plans to go out of state for graduate school, he eventually wants to work with think tanks on public policy in Washington D.C. His ultimate goal is to return to UNM to mentor future students toward success.
“Everything I've been able to do has been because I've been around great people, and people who have propelled me forward and inspired me and encouraged me and supported me throughout the pandemic,” Schumann said.
Annya Loya is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @annyaloya
Maddie Pukite is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @maddogpukite