Dedication to excellence key component to Truman nominee’s success

Truman Scholar nominee Ciara Chambers, junior in political science, Spanish and international studies has a passion for making a positive difference in her community. One of the Chambers' future plans include attending law school and focus on immigration law and immigration policy. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian

For Ciara Chambers, senior in political science, Spanish and international studies, “good” simply isn’t good enough. Described as dedicated and passionate by her friends and professors, Chambers’ path to becoming a Harry S. Truman scholarship nominee was paved in hard work.

Each year, K-State nominates four students deemed outstanding by their professors and peers with an interest in public service to compete for the prestigious award against over 600 students from around the U.S.

Though Chambers originally came to K-State as a pre-pharmacy major, she quickly decided that her heart lay with public service. She found even further focus as time went on.

“I wanted to have a career where I could feel good about the work that I was doing each day,” Chambers said. “After my first semester, I realized that I wasn’t truly passionate about the material I was learning, so I decided to switch into the field that I had always been the most interested in during high school: political science. I also decided to continue on with a major in Spanish and a secondary major in International Studies because I enjoy the material as well.”

Her three majors combined to train her for her policy proposal to change immigration rules for H-2A guest worker programs to allow temporary workers to more easily change employers.

“I am passionate about this particular issue for a variety of reasons,” Chambers said. “I have learned a lot over the years about immigration and conditions in Latin and Central America. I also have learned by staying up with current events that the American immigration system is flawed and could use some serious revision, but I thought I would look for one of the smaller ways that Congress could perhaps compromise on – instead of a complete overhaul – to better the system.”

While making changes to the immigration system will present a challenge, Laurie Johnson, professor in political science, said she believes that if anyone can handle it, Chambers is up to the job.

“She’s extremely bright,” Johnson said. “She’s does everything nearly perfectly. I had her in my Introduction to Political Thought class, and her work stood out so much that when I needed an assistant, I remembered that ‘oh this is the best student in my class.’”

Johnson describes Chambers as thorough, hard working and thoughtful in all her work. Chambers works as Johnson’s assistant for the primary text certificate program for the past two years.

“She’s always looking for experiences – work as well as academic – that enhance her knowledge of the public good,” Johnson said.

Chambers said she was inspired by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and looked up to people like her who were making a difference.

“Ginsburg wasn’t afraid to try to break many gender barriers,” Chambers said. “She spent a large portion of her career litigating discrimination cases of all types, for men and women. Ginsburg is my role model because she never gave up on what she believed in and she pursued the things she was passionate about, while making the country a better place.”

Chambers’ friend and Kappa Delta sorority sister, Hannah Sharp, senior in finance, paints Chambers as loyal, passionate, trustworthy and motivated. Sharp and Chambers have been friends since they were in sixth grade, and Sharp said she has seen positive growth in Chambers in their many years of friendship.

“She’s gotten a lot more involved in things,” Sharp said. “In high school we did a lot, but she’s definitely become a lot more passionate about the things she’s involved in. Ciara puts a lot of time and effort into everything that she does. She cares a lot about the organizations she’s a part of.”

From being on the team for Model U.N. to serving as vice president and judicial affairs for the Panhellenic Council, Chambers has dedicated her time to bettering herself and gaining skills to prepare her for the next step in her life: law school.

“I have developed so much over the years since coming to K-State,” Chambers said. “Not only have I learned a lot through my classes, but I’ve also gained many valuable skills from my various extracurricular activities on campus. I have also met so many wonderful people here and have made great memories that I know I will forever cherish from my time at K-State.”