UC Berkeley student Eli Glickman named a 2024 Truman Scholar

May 9, 2024

Eli Glickman '25, a political science and public policy major, was recently named a 2024 Harry Truman Scholar, UC Berkeley's first winner since 2019. 

Truman Scholars demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to public service, and academic excellence. Selected from 709 candidates nominated by 285 colleges and universities, this year's 60 new scholars will receive $30,000 for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government.

Alicia Hayes, Associate Director of National Scholarships and Experiential Fellowships in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships, adds, "The Truman Scholarship is open to all majors, but applicants should demonstrate they want to work in government at any level, the uniformed services, public interest organizations, non-governmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service-oriented non-profit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment. OURS National Scholarships & Experiential Fellowships works to advise, prepare, and select students who are interested in pursuing opportunities such as the Truman."

"During my first meeting with Eli, it was immediately evident that he possesses a strong sense of commitment and determined resolve to make a difference in the future and has already started along that path," shared Hayes. "He is engaging and thoughtful but also demonstrates genuine humility, which are common traits shared among the many Truman scholars with whom I've had the privilege to interact both within and beyond UC Berkeley. It has been a true pleasure working with him."

Below, Eli shares his reaction to this achievement and his aspirations for the future.

Congratulations on becoming a Truman Scholar! What was your initial reaction when the results were announced?

I was thrilled when I found out I'd been named a 2024 Truman Scholar. It is an immense honor to be a part of such a well-regarded community of leaders dedicated to public service, and I am very grateful to have this opportunity.

Can you tell me a bit about your background and what drew you to study political science and public policy at Berkeley?

I have been interested in politics and policy for a long time. My dad has worked for the federal government my whole life, his dad served in the Navy during the Korean War, and my other grandfather consulted at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Government work, especially with a national security bent, was prominent in my upbringing. In high school, I was eager to learn more about current events, and I became an avid and competitive debater and wrote for my school's newspaper. Those two experiences led me to want to study political science. I was drawn to Berkeley because my grandmother lives in southern California, and I wanted to see her more frequently. I also was eager to study at a place where groundbreaking research and innovation is constantly happening across the range of academic disciplines.

Meet Eli Glickman, 2024 Harry Truman Scholar

Eli Zachary Glickman (he/him) is a junior in Political Science. He was announced among the 2024 class of Harry Truman Scholars on Friday, April 12th. Eli was one of six nominees forwarded by the campus this year. Eli is Berkeley’s first Truman scholar since 2019.

It is an immense honor to be a part of such a well-regarded community of leaders dedicated to public service.
Eli Glickman, 2024 Truman Scholar

What has been the most challenging aspect of your studies, and how have you addressed it?

I think one of the most challenging aspects of Berkeley, which is also one of its greatest assets, is how large the school is. In my experience, Berkeley is configured to reward people who take initiative and are determined. It's simply too big to hold the hand of every student, and is in some ways a 'sink or swim' environment. At first, this was challenging because it sometimes was more difficult to find help with classes when I needed it and seek out other opportunities on campus. However, after getting accustomed to the system at Berkeley and spending time familiarizing myself with the cadence of a typical Berkeley semester, I found that I became a much more efficient and independent student. I learned how to seek out help when I needed it, but I also learned how to find opportunities for rigor outside of the classroom, which I think has made me a stronger student and given me important life skills for working in a fast-paced, competitive environment. 

With the $30,000 in funding, what are your intended plans for the future?

My grandfathers' experiences and the models they set for me, respectively, made me very interested in world politics, technology, and national security. Two of the classes I've taken at Berkeley—American Foreign Policy with Dr. Daniel Zoughbie and War? Politics, Security, and Emerging Technologies with Professor Andrew Reddie—both contributed to my interest in the intersection between national security and technology and made me eager to pursue a career in the field. At present, I am interested in nuclear weapons policy and strategy, as well as artificial intelligence, space technology, and missile defense.

I intend to pursue a master's degree in security studies or international relations. I am also considering a PhD program, but I am planning to serve in government for a few years between graduating from Cal and going back to school.

The scholarship also provides internship opportunities - is there a particular federal agency or department you'd be interested in?

I am most interested in working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense within the Department of Defense.

What advice would you give to students who aspire to follow a similar path in public service and leadership?

I'd tell students who are interested in public service and leadership to relentlessly learn and seek out opportunities. There are myriad fellowships, scholarships, programs for learning, and internships available to people interested in policy and government work. I think it's important for students interested in public service to apply for as many of these opportunities as they can and build diverse and deep backgrounds on a wide range of issues in their field of interest. I think public service is a field of work that rewards people who are passionate and take initiative; while it can be a challenging field to break into, it is ultimately an extremely rewarding line of work.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am very grateful to Mrs. Alicia Hayes from the Berkeley Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships for her support throughout the process of applying for the Truman. She is extremely knowledgeable and her commitment to helping students succeed was palpable. I am also grateful to Professors Daniel Sargent, Andrew Reddie, and Ron Hassner for their support and guidance; students interested in foreign affairs and national security would do well to take their classes and seek out their insights.