Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Sociology Student Named 2015 Truman Scholar

A Florida State University psychology and sociology major studying the causes of suicide, particularly in the military community, has been named a 2015 Truman Scholar, a prestigious national award given to college juniors who seek to improve their communities through public service.

Daniel Hubbard, 27, a junior from Tallahassee who spent five years as an Army medic before enrolling at Florida State, is among this year’s class of 58 Truman Scholars and the only one from Florida. He was selected from a pool of 688 candidates nominated by 297 colleges and universities.

Daniel’s award makes him the third of the past four Truman Scholars from FSU to graduate from the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. Cara Castellana (2005) and Joe O’Shea (2007) were also majors in the college. A fourth Truman Scholar, Alexander Merkovic-Orenstein, graduated from Arts and Sciences but was very active in our World Affairs Program.

“Daniel’s academic, personal and professional journeys have all converged in a manner that makes him an ideal recipient of the Truman Scholarship,” said Craig Filar, director of the FSU Office of National Fellowships. “His dedication and determination to improve the quality of services available to all members of our military illustrate the characteristics of service, leadership and scholarship that define a Truman Scholar.”

This year’s Truman Scholars will receive their awards in a ceremony Sunday, May 24, at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo.

FSU President John Thrasher commended Hubbard for his military service and the importance of his research.

“It’s a prestigious award and to have someone at Florida State University receive it is an incredible honor,” Thrasher said. “This is a recognition that this young man has stood out among his peers from all over the country. It is a great recognition for Daniel and the work he has done.”

Since coming to Florida State as a junior transfer student in summer 2014, Hubbard has used his undergraduate experience to learn the basics of psychology, sociology and how to conduct research to set the stage for graduate school. His goal? A doctoral degree in clinical psychology focused on understanding suicide, particularly in the military community.

“I think that for most people who have lost a friend or family member to suicide, the largest unanswered question we have is ‘Why?'” Hubbard said. “I ask this question, too. But after delving into literature on military suicide, I have changed it to ‘How can I help those, particularly soldiers, suffering from thoughts of suicide in the future?’ I care about this population, and I want to be a part of the discussion that ameliorates this issue over the coming years.”

In addition to his academic work at Florida State, Hubbard is a volunteer with Legal Services of North Florida, responsible for assisting clients and recruiting other student volunteers.

After attending the 2016 Truman Scholarship Summer Institute, Hubbard intends to continue his community involvement by joining Rotoract and volunteering with the Advocates for Veterans Housing and 2-1-1 Big Bend.

The mission of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is to select and support the next generation of public service leaders.