Editor's Notebook

tclark@govexec.com

Timothy B. Clark Forget the doom merchants who forecast woe for the public service. I am here to tell you that concern for social justice and the spirit of altruism is alive and well among the nation's youth.

This I learned as a judge in this year's Harry S. Truman Scholarship Program, a 24-year-old, government-funded program which confers $30,000 scholarships each year to college juniors interested in public service. Some are heading for government, others for nonprofit groups, but all are determined to change the world for the better.

Take, for example, Helen Huarca, one of the Truman Scholars chosen by the panel of judges for the Maryland-Virginia region. A first-generation American, she grew up in an eclectic community of immigrants in Silver Spring, Md. A common characteristic, said Helen, "was our poverty and lack of health insurance." Her father, a house painter, and her mother, a housekeeper in private homes, sacrificed much to send Helen to parochial schools. Helen held three part-time jobs at the age of 16. She went on scholarship to Mount Holyoke and plans to get graduate degrees in medicine and public health from Yale. Then she will work to make sure that the health insurance and medical care that were unavailable to her become available to the next generation.

Ari Lipman of Harvard is another new Truman Scholar. He hungers to alleviate the suffering he sees among the homeless and poor families in substandard housing. He observes that 5.3 million American households, or some 12.5 million people, "desperately need housing assistance because of rents higher than 50 percent of their income." In college, Ari ran a homeless shelter and organized tenant groups to resist unreasonable rent increases. He will pursue a law degree, then plans to work for policies to "extend housing as a right for all people."

Kelly Munger's story is one of sheer determination to succeed against the odds. Born with cerebral palsy, she was not given much of a chance to walk or talk, but now she's a high-achieving student at Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Kelly's Truman Scholarship will help her pursue her dream of helping other children with disabilities achieve their potential. And Charlotte Sanders, the fourth student we chose, is planning to go from Columbia University to law school and then to a civil rights career aimed at promoting true equality of opportunity in public education.

Meanwhile, back at Government Executive, writer Anne Laurent this month begins a new beat we're calling "Entrepreneurial Government." She will report on the many new businesses agencies are starting up all across government, in the fertile soil of management reform, new purchasing rules, downsizing and performance pressure.

Laurent has distinguished herself most recently as the project leader for the agency management grading exercise whose results were in our February issue. That issue, we are proud to report, is a winner this month of The Washington Monthly's Journalism Award.

Tim sig2 5/3/96
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