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K-State’s 39th Truman Scholar Aims to Address Global Food Security

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By Malorie Sougéy, K-State News

 

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Adelaide Easter, senior in agricultural economics and global food systems leadership with minors in leadership and international agriculture, Salina, is Kansas State University’s 39th Harry S. Truman scholar.

The Truman scholarship is a highly competitive national award that provides up to $30,000 for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling, and special internship and fellowship opportunities in the federal government. Truman scholars demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector, and academic excellence.

According to the Truman Foundation, 60 scholarships were awarded this year from a candidate pool of 709 students nominated by 285 colleges and universities.

“Adelaide epitomizes K-State’s commitment to excellence and service,” said President Richard Linton. “Her dedication to addressing global food insecurity and promoting agricultural equity embodies the essence of our land-grant mission. Adelaide represents the next generation of leaders who will drive positive change, and we are immensely proud of her and confident in her ability to make a meaningful impact on the world.”

Easter will attend the Truman Foundation’s 2025 Summer Institute program, where she hopes to work as a Zero Hunger Intern for the Congressional Hunger Center in Washington, D.C., to address food insecurity. Through the summer institute, she will also participate in a seminar series focused on domestic and global hunger, advocacy, and the root causes of hunger and poverty. Easter said to end the summer, she will complete a research project examining hunger in her local community and present potential solutions to address the problem.

In the summer of 2024, she will participate in Truman Leadership Week in Liberty, Missouri, where she will meet other Truman scholars. She will also work with K-State Research and Extension as a Local Food Fellow to establish a food recovery network at K-State.

“I am passionate about combating global hunger and committed to meeting basic needs through advocacy for education and innovation,” Easter said. “I am dedicated to working to build capacity that creates long-term solutions for food security and agriculture worldwide.”

Before graduate study, she plans to gain field experience working in the policy and development sector, potentially with the Food Research and Action Center, the World Food Programme or the Peace Corps.

Easter intends to pursue a master’s in food and agriculture law to work at the intersection of policy and development, making agriculture more equitable and addressing the root causes of hunger.

She is interested in one day being a U.S. Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development or serving on the congressional Senate Agriculture Committee.

“I want to do on-the-ground work involving intentionally and ethically interacting in communities to establish sustainable projects,” Easter said. “Ultimately, I hope to work towards addressing global food insecurity through making agriculture more accessible to women, people of color, and small-holder farmers.”

She has already made strides toward this goal. Through 4-H, she presented the problem of feeding an estimated 10 billion people by 2050 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a Flinchbaugh Food and Agriculture Policy Fellow, she interned at the state and federal levels, including with Kansas Grain Sorghum, National Sorghum Producers and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s office, furthering her knowledge of agricultural policy and international food assistance issues.

Easter holds leadership positions in several campus organizations, including director of leadership programming, Blue Key Senior Honorary; director of stakeholders and public relations, Food Security Scholars; student coordinator, Global Food Systems Leadership Program; founder and president, Student Basic Needs Coalition; and For Sophomores Only co-chair, Student Alumni Board.

She is a member of the Staley School of Leadership Ambassadors, the Cats’ Cupboard Advisory Board, and the University Honors Program. Easter is also a Connected ‘Cat intern for the president’s regional community visits.

Easter’s undergraduate research experience includes an in-depth desk review analyzing Kenyan women farmers’ barriers to success for the Global Food Systems Leadership in Action course. She also traveled to Orvieto, Italy, for the Culture and Context in Leadership program, where she learned about local and global advocacy and completed a research paper about how food insecurity disproportionately affects marginalized groups.

The daughter of Monica Bachamp, D.O., and Jeff Easter, Adelaide is a graduate of Sacred Heart Junior-Senior High School in Salina.

“As a Truman scholar, I am excited to join a community of changemakers making progress on all issues across the world, and I cannot wait for the experiences I will gain being a part of this network,” Easter said.

Kansas State University students interested in applying for nationally competitive scholarships should contact Beth Powers, director of Scholar Development and Undergraduate Research and the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships, at [email protected].

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As the nation’s first operational land-grant institution, Kansas State University has served the people of Kansas, the nation and the world since its founding in 1863 — and it continues to set the standard as a next-generation land-grant university. K-State offers an exceptional student experience across three physical campuses and online offerings, meeting students where they are and preparing them to achieve their personal and professional goals. The university is committed to its mission of teaching, research and service through industry-connected programs, impactful research-driven solutions, and a sharp focus on community engagement and economic prosperity.