who was born and raised on the Pueblo of Zuni reservation in New
Mexico, is one of 58 recipients of this year's award, which provides
up to $30,000 for graduate study to students with "exceptional leadership
potential" who are committed to careers in public service.
Delena 15 won a Truman Scholarship
(photo courtesy of Alfred Delena).
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship
Foundation recently named Alfred Delena, a Stanford senior majoring
in human biology, as a 2015 Truman Scholar.
Delena was one of 58 college students mostly college
juniors from 50 U.S. colleges and universities chosen to
receive 2015 Truman scholarships. The awards provide up to $30,000
for graduate study to students with "exceptional leadership
potential" who are committed to careers in public service,
including government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, and education.
In addition to receiving financial support for graduate school,
the Truman Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental
financial aid at some premium graduate institutions, as well as
leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and
special internship opportunities within the federal government.
Delena, who is minoring in education, is writing an honors thesis
that takes a qualitative, narrative approach to understanding undergraduate
happiness and success.
He said he was deeply humbled and very honored to receive the
"This success is for the many people who have helped me,
from my advisers to my mentors, from people at the Native American
Cultural Center to Undergraduate Advising and Research, from my
professors to my peers," he said. "Thank you for all the
guidance, support, and assistance on this long and overwhelming
Delena, who was born and raised on the Pueblo of Zuni reservation
in New Mexico, dedicated the award to his parents, Vanessa and Larry
"Despite the constant struggle of growing up in poverty,
I learned to appreciate how small things can make a big difference,"
"I am humbled by and grateful to my parents, who continually
support and value the importance of my education, despite not having
had such opportunities themselves. I am here because my parents
never gave up on me. Through their love and sacrifice, I have gone
to places I never dreamed possible."
In 2011, Delena received a Gates
Millennium Scholarship to attend Stanford.
At Stanford, he serves as counselor at Camp
Kesem at Stanford, a weeklong, sleep-away camp for boys and
girls whose parents have been affected by cancer. Camp Kesem, which
was initiated by Stanford students in 2000, now has 62 chapters
at universities across the country.
While studying overseas with Stanford's Bing
Overseas Studies Program in Cape Town, South Africa, Delena
served as a volunteer at a high school located in a nearby township.
He taught students the science of compassion, empathy and happiness.
Delena, who is passionate about improving student wellness at
Stanford, served on the Emotional Well-Being Action Committee of
the Associated Students of Stanford University. He was an intern
for "I Thrive
@ Stanford," a Vaden Health Center program that help students
create a campus culture of well-being. He designed and taught a
course to incoming freshmen, Your Stanford Experience: Understanding
the Science of Happiness and Discovering Opportunities at Stanford.
Delena said he is dedicated to improving the educational and
health outcomes for Native people, and is committed to helping create
a fundamental paradigm change in Indian country, starting with his
community and spreading outward.
In the future, Delena hopes to make a difference by working
with schools and communities to make young people happier, healthier
and more resilient.