Penn has a Truman Scholar for the third year running.
College junior Adam Cohen was named a 2015 Truman Scholar, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation
About 60 American students receive the scholarship — which provides a monetary award for current college students planning to pursue public service or government-based graduate and professional degrees — each year for their potential to become public service leaders. Cohen was awarded the scholarship for his contributions to the public education system.
An urban studies major, Cohen is involved in extracurricular activities that aim to improve public education, specifically for West Philadelphia high school students. He works closely with the Netter Center for Community Partnerships to coordinate Penn student teaching efforts in those schools.
“There is this paradox that in this area: We have a school with some of the brightest people in the country, but right beside it there are high schools where only half of the students can graduate,” Cohen said. “Penn students are in a position to have a huge impact on these kids’ education.”
"[Cohen] is an amazing leader who is able to communicate with our faculty and students as well as West Philadelphia high school teachers and students. He understands how our partnership programs can be made more effective to fulfill the needs of those schools,” Associate Director of the Netter Center Cory Bowman said.
Cohen also devotes himself to academic research on public education in West Philadelphia. In the past few years, Cohen has taken several Academically Based Community Service seminars with Ira Harkavy, who is also the director of the Netter Center. Cohen’s paper topics have ranged from college readiness and student potential to democratic education and collaborative learning.
Harkavy said Cohen’s papers were “among the best work he’s read” in recent years, and he has incorporated Cohen’s ideas into his own teaching. “His paper is always a great combination of case study research and logic theory reasoning, connecting what we learn in class with his on-the-ground teaching experiences,” Harkavy said.
“I am proud to be his teacher,” he added. “[Cohen] fits wonderfully to the ideal image of a student who can make substantial contributions to our society while achieving academic excellence.”
Cohen said that he is considering pursuing his graduate studies at Penn. “I want to stay in Philadelphia and continue working in education,” he said. “It’s something I have become increasingly passionate about.”
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