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Agricultural economics student is Kansas State University's 35th Truman scholar

Friday, April 12, 2019


MANHATTAN — A passion for tackling food insecurity through public policy has earned Kansas State University's Clara Wicoff, junior in agricultural economics, Iola, a 2019 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

The Truman scholarship is a highly competitive national award that provides up to $30,000 for graduate study to students committed to future careers in public service. According to the Truman Foundation, 62 scholarships were awarded this year from a candidate pool of 840 students nominated by 346 colleges and universities.

"It comes as no surprise that Clara has received this prestigious scholarship, making her the university's 35th Truman scholar," Kansas State University President Richard Myers said. "Clara has an excellent record of leadership, public service and academic achievement to complement her passion for promoting food security. As an exemplary K-State student and undergraduate researcher, she is helping the university — the nation's first operational land-grant institution — live up to its mission to improve quality of life for all people."

Wicoff is working on a secondary major in Global Food Systems Leadership and minoring in entomology. After graduation, she said she intends to earn a master's degree in public policy and focus her research on what she calls the "wicked" problem of food insecurity.  

"From climate change to poverty to sustainability, 'wicked' problems set themselves apart from 'tame' problems through their complex interactions with other social problems and their lack of a clear solution," Wicoff said. "Obtaining a Master of Public Policy degree will enable me to have a better understanding of the public policy implications of various approaches to food security."

In fall 2017, Wicoff participated in the university's entomology department undergraduate research experience program, where she was able to incorporate her interest in food insecurity with research in reducing post-harvest loss. Through the program, she researched the influence of a specific insecticide-treated storage material on insect pests at the USDA Center for Grain and Animal Health Research.

Wicoff is a member of the university's Honor and Integrity Council, the Center for Risk Management Education and Research Student Fellows, and Blue Key Senior Honorary. In addition, she is a legislative fellow for the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, a member of the Cargill Fellows Program and a student worker for the Kansas Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Lodging Program. She also serves on the Riley County and City of Manhattan Food and Farm Council. She is the events coordinator for the College of Agriculture Ambassadors and previously served as the alumnae relations director for her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. In summer 2018, she served as a committee intern for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She also served as state vice president for Kansas Future Farmers of America from 2016-2017.

In addition to the Truman scholarship, Wicoff has received a Kansas State University Presidential Scholarship and a Kansas State University Kassebaum Scholarship and is a National Merit Scholar. She is a 2016 graduate of Iola High School and the daughter of Joel and Lisa Wicoff, Iola.


James Hohenbary


Wicoff is Why-coff


Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships


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Clara Wicoff, K-State's 35th Truman scholar

Clara Wicoff, junior in agricultural economics, Iola, has received a 2019 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, making her Kansas State University's 35th Truman scholar.

Written by

Stephanie Jacques