Iowa State student becomes first Truman Scholar since 2006


Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily

Juan Bibiloni-Rivera, Student Government vice president, takes notes during the Student Government meeting Oct. 24, 2018, in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union. Bibiloni-Rivera became the first student since 2006 to become a Truman Scholar. 

Juan Bibiloni-Revera becomes the first Iowa State student since 2006 to receive a Truman Scholarship.

Bibiloni-Rivera, senior in mechanical engineering, is one out of 62 students in the U.S. to receive the Truman Scholarship. He was selected out of 773 applications worldwide. 

Bibiloni-Rivera said his inspiration for applying came from hearing a few of his friends’ experiences about receiving scholarships.

After his friends encouraged him to apply for the scholarship, this past fall Bibiloni-Rivera attended one of the information sessions from The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at Iowa State for people interested in applying for a scholarship.

“I told them my story of my major in mechanical engineering and my passion about public service and public policy and wanting to work for the government and they told me that I would be an excellent Truman candidate and that’s where my journey started,” Bibiloni-Rivera said. 

After Bibiloni-Rivera was selected as a Truman nominee, which was this past February, he got an interview for being a finalist and that’s when he was selected for the Truman Scholarship. 

The Truman Scholarship is a graduate fellowship in the U.S. for those who want to pursue careers in public service.

Before applying for the scholarship, Bibiloni-Rivera said public service was not on his mind. Coming from San Juan, Puerto Rico, he said his dream was to always go to college and work for a big corporation.

After receiving the George Washington Scholarship, it gave him an opportunity to work in leadership positions where he served as the vice president for Student Government and as the president for the CyRide board of trustees where he served three terms.

Bibiloni-Rivera said he is also involved in the U.S. Armed Forces to help continue his journey in public service. He said he realized he wants to do more for the community by supporting others in the Army. Bibiloni-Rivera said his grandfather had served in Vietnam.

“I realized where I am truly happy has been in these positions where I am involved in the community where I am helping others where I am trying to uplift my surroundings and my environment,” Bibiloni-Rivera said. 

The Truman Scholarship will be able to help Bibiloni-Rivera network with other scholars pursuing a career in public service. These connections will help Bibiloni-Rivera find job opportunities to work in policy and government.

After graduation Bibiloni-Rivera said he hopes to work in different sectors in which the scholarship provides and take advantage of the summer programs the scholarship offers. In a few years, he said he hopes to get his master’s in public administration and law.

For being a Truman Scholar, Bibiloni-Rivera will be able to receive up to $30,000 for graduate school. He will also be able to receive supplemental aid from some other institutions, leadership opportunities and career and graduate school counseling.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential, communication skills and demonstrate academic excellence and be committed to careers in public service.