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Himes earns $30,000 Truman Scholarship
As a child, Annie Himes saw herself piloting social change as president of the United States.
Now, as a University of Nebraska-Lincoln junior, she’s got a bit of a different take: She still has the desire to leave her mark on social issues, but she’s leaning more toward activism than pursuing votes.
As a 2015 Truman Scholar, she’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore that path. Himes was selected as one of only about 60 students nationally to receive the highly competitive, $30,000 scholarship, which rewards students who demonstrate leadership potential and who have an outstanding record of public service.
Himes, a 2012 graduate of Papillion-La Vista High School, has been a legislative intern and page, an Association of the Students of the University of Nebraska senator, a member of the University Honors Program, a member of the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women, a Chi Omega sorority member and a volunteer with the progressive advocacy group Nebraska Appleseed.
UNL honored Himes at a reception April 9 in the Canfield Administration Building, where family, Honors Program staff, mentors, professors and Chancellor Harvey Perlman celebrated her achievement.
“Annie represents the university well and this shows the caliber of the student body that we have,” he said.
Growing up, she said she knew she wanted to work in public service. Her mother and her grandmother instilled in her a strong sense of community and need for social justice.
“They’re very progressive thinkers,” Himes said. “They’ve always engrained in me a knowledge and an awareness of social causes, and they’re very connected to women’s causes.”
The scholarship, which is awarded to college juniors, can be used for graduate or professional school. Himes said she plans to attend law school with an eye on a career working for policies and change in the treatment of women.
Himes is working to complete her degree in three majors – Russian, history and global studies – and hopes to study abroad again after completing a semester in St. Petersburg, Russia. She said she would like to earn a Fulbright to study and teach overseas before studying law.
It was Himes’ involvement in student government at UNL, she said, where she learned to navigate the bureaucratic and activist sides of public policy.
“There is a really important balance between people elected to serve and citizens they serve,” Himes said. “I really found through student government that I wanted to be more in the activist role.”
As a legislative intern in the offices of State Sen. Danielle Conrad and State Sen. Heath Mello, Himes honed her future path.
“Working in the legislature, I was able to see how effective the senators are that have law degrees, so I’d really like to pursue a law degree,” Himes said.
Himes said it was Conrad, now the director of the American Civil Liberties Union for Nebraska, who solidified her drive to pursue an activist career.
“I have learned from her that law can be a very powerful tool in creating social change,” she said. ““Ideally, I would find a job where I could use law to pursue social causes. That could be practicing law or working for a non-profit as their attorney.”