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Junior Daisy Almonte, advocate for farmworkers and a DSG vice president, named 2019 Truman Scholar

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Daisy Almonte | Special to the Chronicle

Junior Daisy Almonte was named a 2019 Truman Scholar Thursday.

Almonte was selected as a part of the cohort of 62 college students from 58 institutions around the country. The Truman Scholarship, founded in honor of President Harry Truman, is a prestigious graduate scholarship for students aspiring to pursue careers as public service leaders. 

As part of the fellowship, Almonte will receive $30,000 to fund graduate studies. She was chosen from more than 840 candidates for the honor. 

"Through her advocacy for farmworkers and her research into barriers facing undocumented immigrants, she has exemplified both our university’s commitment to public service and exceptional academic ability," President Vincent Price said in a news release.

Almonte is a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar and a Baldwin Scholar from Turkey, NC. She is pursuing an interdepartmental major in public policy and sociology and plans on pursuing a J.D. and a Ph.D. in sociology after graduating. 

At Duke, Almonte serves as the Duke Student Government vice president for equity and outreach. At the meeting when President Price told her that she had been named a 2019 Truman Scholar, she thought she had been called into his office for an update on a DSG project, she told The Chronicle.

Beyond her involvement in DSG, Almonte has worked to improve the lives of both immigrants and farmworkers through her community outreach, research and advocacy.

She is a founding member of the First-Generation/Low-Income Caucus and Latinx Caucus.

"I organized a college access workshop on campus, where we brought in high school students from the community to give tips on how to navigate the college application process as first-generation minority students," she said.

She is also involved with Mi Gente, Duke Define American and is a mentor for the First-Generation Pre-Orientation program. 

Beyond her leadership, Almonte is also a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellow, studying the impact of state and local policies on obtaining drivers’ licenses and the effects on undocumented immigrants.

In summer 2018, she was named a FirstGEN fellow and interned at the National Immigration Law Center. 

Off campus, she serves as one of the youngest board members of Student Action with Farm Workers, a nonprofit that advocates for justice in the agricultural system. With roots in rural North Carolina, Almonte has been involved with the organization since high school.

Following an internship with the organization during her freshman year at Duke, Almonte was offered a position on the board of directors, on which she has served for the past two years.

Almonte explained that it was not hard to find involvements at Duke that she was passionate about. Being raised by Mexican immigrants has had a lasting impact on her.

"As someone from an immigrant family, [my pursuits] have been a part of me since I can remember," she said. "They have influenced the classes that I have chosen to take, the work I have chosen to do and the career that I aspire to have. It all comes back to the people who have shaped my life and the communities that I want to give back to."

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