Ashley Lawson, a junior majoring in mathematics education and mathematics at North Carolina State University and a teacher recruit for Lenoir County Public Schools, has been named one of 59 recipients of the renowned Truman Scholarship, which invests in the potential of individuals committed to public service leadership.

Lawson, 21, of Sandy Ridge, NC, plans to use the award to earn a PhD in a joint program in public administration and development sociology after first teaching high school mathematics in Lenoir County.

Lawson is one of two NC State students who have committed to join LCPS faculties in the fall of 2019 through the Teacher Innovation Project (TIP), a partnership between NC State, Lenoir County and four other public school districts.

Lawson is NC State’s 10th Truman Scholar.

“What an exceptional honor and recognition for Ashley,” said LCPS Associate Superintendent Frances Herring, who represents the school district in the TIP program. “We are so proud of her here in Lenoir County!”

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was established in 1975 as a living memorial to the nation’s 33rd president and invests in the education and professional development of undergraduate Americans. In addition to up to $30,000 for graduate education, Truman Scholars are offered summer internships in Washington, D.C., mentoring opportunities and placement in public service jobs.

This year the Truman Foundation received 756 applications from 312 colleges and universities for the 2018 Truman Scholar class. Recipients were chosen from 194 finalists. Selection criteria include leadership potential and communication skills, intellectual strength and analytical ability and the likelihood of the finalist “making a difference” in public service.

Lawson came to NC State as a Park Scholar and is part of the University Scholars Program. She has conducted research with the NC State SMART Collaborative and with the NC Department of Public Instruction on topics such as motivational strategies in STEM education and the implementation of high school mathematics standards.

She has served as vice president and currently is president of the North Carolina Council for Teachers of Mathematics Kappa Student Chapter; in addition, she has been a Park Scholarship Ambassador since her freshman year, a College of Education Ambassador since her sophomore year, and has led as director of The Production hip hop dance crew, in which she has been involved since her freshman year.

Lawson has served as a teacher assistant for fourth and fifth grade students learning math and engineering concepts in Stokes County Schools for nearly three years. Among her honors are membership in both Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa and the 2017-2018 Outstanding Mathematics Education Student Award, which is a statewide award from the NC Council for Teachers of Mathematics.

Lawson is the founder and director of Meet My Future, a grassroots organization dedicated to improving the career development, educational attainment and opportunity for rural students and communities.