WILLIAMSTOWN -- Williams College junior Brian McGrail has been awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a prestigious award given to college juniors demonstrating exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in public service. McGrail plans to pursue a law degree and a career in tax policy.
McGrail is one of 62 recipients chosen from an applicant pool of 629 from 293 colleges and universities. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 in support for graduate study, in addition to leadership training, graduate school and career counseling, and access to special internship opportunities within the federal government.
McGrail, of Arlington, Va., plans to earn a degree in law and then work in Washington, D.C., in the executive branch. McGrail has his sights set on the position of Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy, and he may also consider running for office.
"For any student, becoming a Truman Scholar is a culmination of an enormous team effort," McGrail said. "I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to win the scholarship without the tireless work of the professors who wrote my recommendations, served on my mock interview panels, and generally provided for my intellectual development in my time here. I’m thrilled to be a Truman Scholar, and I think that the broader community deserves to share in that feeling because it really is a collective achievement.
At Williams, McGrail is majoring in history and political economy. He serves as a Class of 2014 representative to the student government. He also serves on the college’s Committee on Undergraduate Life and the Finance Committee of College Council. McGrail is president of the Williams College Democrats, a member of the varsity cross country team, a teaching assistant, and a peer tutor.
McGrail has interned at the Tax Policy Center, Hedrick Smith Productions, Progressive Policy Institute, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge, and at Hedrick Smith Productions. He also interned for Elizabeth Warren’s U. S.
Senate campaign and volunteered for Obama for America.
"Brian was impressive to watch in the application process," said Katerina King, director of fellowships at Williams. "He combines intelligence and confidence in the best possible way. I’ve never known a student as ready to accept criticism, to process it ,and to use it to improve his work. I look forward to following his career in public policy and politics; I am sure it will be a brilliant one!" The Truman Scholarship, established in 1975, is the work of President Truman’s lifelong friends John W. Snyder, Truman’s Secretary of the Treasury, and Stuart Symington, then Senator of Missouri. The scholarship was created by an Act of Congress and signed into law by President Gerald Ford. The scholarship was first awarded in the 1977-1978 academic year.
McGrail is the 17th Truman Scholar from Williams College. Recent past winners of the scholarship include Newton Davis ‘12 and William Lee ‘11.