Names You Should Know

Here is an exercise to help you prepare for a national scholarship interview like the Marshall, Rhodes or Truman.

Public Names

Commit yourself to learning the following names that are in the public discourse:

  • Key cabinet members, particularly those posts that most affect your field.
  • Your elected officials. And the leadership in Congress.
  • The current Supreme Court.
  • Notable heads of state around the world, particularly if you are interested in a country or region.
  • Leading thinkers. Title/author/thesis for influential books in your field.
  • Leaders and controversial figures in your field. Change agents.
  • Relevant historical figures.
  • Individuals making recent headlines.
Interview Questions

Many interview questions are open ended, so it is vital to spend time figuring out what you would like to talk about if you receive an interview. This might include knowing WHO you would like to talk about . . .

  • Your hero(es)
  • Your most influential mentor
  • Your role model. Individuals that you simply admire.
  • Thinkers and authors that have strongly influenced you.
  • Researchers that interest you.
  • Leaders that capture your attention and/or loyalty.
  • People whose actions and/or identity embody the ideas (and problems) most core to your thinking.
  • Artists and writers that speak to you.
  • Sources for your favorite quotes.
  • Thinkers and authors whose views challenge your own.

Of course, an interview is not a oral exam, and in reality, names are only as valuable as your ability to situate them within a larger context of knowledge. However, learning and discovering these names will help you build a more coherent and detailed understanding of that context.

The benefit of this exercise is that these are names that an educated and interested person should aspire to know. For that reason, you should begin to fill in the blanks as far in advance as possible. This is an exercise to do as part of your educational journey, not the basis for cramming the night before your interview.

Please contact Beth Powers at if you would like to talk further about how to best prepare for interviews associated with major scholarships.