UNC-Chapel Hill junior Samuel Zahn has been selected as a 2021 Truman Scholar. The Truman Scholarship Foundation awards approximately 60 merit-based scholarships each year to college students who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service.
Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, participate in leadership development activities, and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.
A history and political science double major, Zahn has extensive experience with civil rights advocacy and public service. His interest in addressing the educational imbalance that exists among every group in America stems from his own experiences as a member of the Jewish community and also working with the American Jewish Committee. Zahn has helped steer the response from the American Jewish community and worked on behalf of the community to increase Black-Jewish cooperation in the face of rising antisemitism and racism.
At Carolina, Zahn is a Robertson Scholar and an extremely active student, particularly in matters related to criminal justice and awareness. He currently serves as president of the UNC Chabad Student Group and is conducting research projects devoted to political realities of incarcerations and democratic accountability of elected prosecutors. As a leader, Zahn created Confronting Antisemitism; Carolina’s first course totally dedicated to discussing antisemitism. He is well-versed and committed to using education as a tool to improving civil rights and equality.
“The Truman Scholarship is very difficult to earn. We are so proud of Sam’s achievement,” said Office of Distinguished Scholarships Director Inger Brodey. “Sam’s extensive work against antisemitism, not only on campus, but also on the national and international stage, shows his capacity for being an agent of positive change.”
The Truman Scholarship will provide Zahn with the opportunity to attend law school. He aims to learn the law and represent the interests of those who have traditionally been denied great legal representation. Zahn is interested in engaging the multi-dimensionality of justice where advocates representing different sections of the legal world come together to make progressive change. He hopes to put together essential briefings in an effort to convey to the courts the rationale of a major civic organization, and how they can greatly advance the goals of social justice.
Following the completion of law school, Zahn would like to obtain placement in the Lawyers Division of the American Defamation League, specifically focused on represent those whose civil and political rights are put to question in front of the courts.