NMSU economics student awarded Truman Scholarship

April 19, 2010by Alexia Severson NMSU Round Up

Eric Layer, Truman Scholar

Eric Layer, Truman Scholar

A New Mexico State University student will receive a very competitive national scholarship.

Eric Layer, an economics junior at NMSU, has been awarded the 2010 Truman Scholarship.

“The scholarship was set up as memorial to President Harry Truman,” Layer said. “Its purpose is to honor and remember him.”

According to the Truman Scholarship official Web site, www.truman.gov, 60 to 65 of these scholarships are awarded annually, and more than 600 applications are reviewed. This does not include students competing within their own university.

Layer said the scholarship is for college juniors interested in a public service of some sort, such as a career in government.

The major part of the application is a policy proposal, in which the student has to select a problem he or she sees in society and write a one-page proposal on how to solve it, Layer said.

“My policy proposal was on social security reform,” Layer said. “It was a lot of economics-based reasons why the current system isn’t working and why a more privatization-based solution is needed.”

Layer said he also had to go through a long interview, which is typical of the process.

“I came out of the interview feeling like I hadn’t done very well,” Layer said. “There were a lot of furrowed brows like what I was saying didn’t make any sense.”

Layer said two candidates were selected for the Truman Scholarship in New Mexico; a student from the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, and himself.

“I was surprised, elated, excited and honored to be able to represent the university,” Layer said of the moment he found out he had won the scholarship.

Layer said the scholarship provides funding of up to $30,000 for graduate school, along with training in leadership programs.

Layer said he feels prepared for the upcoming training because of his time spent as an intern at the White House his sophomore year: A significant time in his life, in which he even wrote an essay about the experience for the New York Times.

Layer also has exhibited leadership skills as the communication director of the NMSU College Republicans. Layer said he hopes to pursue either a master’s degree or a doctorate in economics.

“I think economics can be applied to just about any political issue,” Layer said.

Layer said he also would like to return to Washington D.C. at some point in the near future, so he can be a part of the energy there again, but that he wouldn’t mind doing some administrative work in New Mexico as well.

Layer said he feels very blessed and his advice to other students pursuing big dreams is to never sit on the sidelines.

“There’s absolutely no reason not to give anything a shot if you have an interest in it,” Layer said.

Alexia Severson is a staff writer and can be contacted at trunews@nmsu.edu.

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