Athletics’ Kamundala named finalist for 2022 Truman Scholarship


Crispin Kamundala, a junior from the University of Maine, has been named a finalist for a 2022 Harry S. Truman Fellowship, a prestigious merit-based scholarship for college juniors pursuing careers in public service. Kamundala is Maine’s only finalist this year.

Kamundala’s story is not like that of many other students on campus. As a teenager, he came to Maine from Kenya, where his family lived in a refugee camp hoping to escape the corrupt political regime of their home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. He had to learn English in high school – French is his first language – but still managed to take college-level courses in order to graduate sooner.

Before coming to UMaine, he attended Central Maine Community College for a year to see how he handled the college workload. He transferred to UMaine for his second year in 2020.

Now, he majors in political science with a minor in legal studies. He is vice president of the UMaine Pre-Law Society and a member of the National Political Science Honors Society, Pi Sigma Alpha. Kamundala is also an accomplished athlete, competing on the UMaine track and field team in triple jump and boxing in competition outside of school. He also works at Abbott Laboratories in Scarborough, where he is a team leader handling test kits.

“People ask me, ‘Crispin, how do you do that?'” Kamundala said. “I say, ‘I used to wear cement in Africa. I used to wear cement on my back for a whole day to earn $5 a day. I used to work hard. I’ve worked hard all my life.’ “

the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation The Fellowship was established by Congress in 1975 as a living memorial to President Truman and a monument to public service. Recipients can receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional education and access leadership development activities and special federal government internship and employment opportunities.

Kamundala applied for the Truman Scholarship in hopes of covering his tuition for law school, which he plans to enter after graduating from the University of Maine next year. He aims to become an immigration lawyer – first in the United States, but eventually in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He plans to study abroad next semester in Lyon, France to brush up on his modern French legalese for this very reason.

“My hope is to start a law firm and help immigrants like me, says Kamundala. “A lot of people are suffering and my dream is to help people.”

Truman Fellowship finalists are selected based on their track record of community service, government involvement, and leadership experience, as well as their academic, writing, and analytical abilities. Kamundala used what he learned in his UMaine courses to help him secure a finalist spot for the prestigious scholarship, specifically Introduction to American Law with Ryan LaRochelle and Mediation with Jason Canniff.

For his Truman Fellowship application, he said he used what he learned in those courses to write about police brutality in America and the potential for mediating community conflict. Her leadership and community service experiences were at the Maine People’s Alliance and the African Youth Alliance.

The person who Kamundala says helped him the most during his time at UMaine was Cassandra Belka of TRIO Student Support Services, a federally funded program within the College Success Programs that provides support, counseling and one-on-one mentorship to income-eligible first-generation students. or have a disability.

“Cassandra Belka is one of the people I’ve worked with since I started,” says Kamundala. “She reviewed my essays, proofread my work and just helped me with my school work. Being part of the TRIO program has helped me a lot.”

The 2022 competition attracted 705 applications from 275 institutions. Kamundala is one of 189 finalists from 126 institutions who will be interviewing virtually with the Foundation’s regional review boards until April 4. The winners will be announced on April 15.

Mark Brewer, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Truman campus representative, supported Kamundala’s candidacy, as did UMaine’s Office of Major Scholarships, faculty and community members who wrote papers. letters of recommendation and the Writing Center.

To learn more about this and other prestigious national merit-based scholarships, contact Nives Dal Bo-Wheeler, Director of the Office of Major Scholarships.



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