Posted March 26, 2009

Temple scholar competes for prestigious award

Kylie Patterson wants to see changes in voting rights of convicted felons and in the way government interacts with the communities it serves. But instead of waiting for change, Patterson is taking steps to make sure it begins with her.

Before she leaves Temple to change the world, the double major in political science and African American studies hopes to earn a graduate degree in public administration. Applying for the Truman Scholarship may be the first step toward achieving her goal.

Patterson applied for the prestigious award at the urging of Ruth Ost, director of the Temple University’s Honors Program.

“I’ll admit, the process was challenging,” said Patterson. “But, it was definitely worth it. The Honors program provided a lot of support and I learned a lot through the entire experience.”

One of the most important things she learned was how to be prepared for anything. The final stage of the interviewing process involved answering a series of questions on a range of subjects, from world politics to history.

Her passion for politics and social justice began as a student at East Stroudsburg North High School, where she served at student body president. After graduating from Temple, she intends to earn her J.D. and eventually run for public office.

Kylie Patterson
Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University


On campus, she works to improve the student experience as a Temple Student Government (TSG) senator. This year, Patterson drafted a resolution articulating TSG’s support for Temple’s inclusion in Pennsylvania’s Tuition Relief Act.

Patterson said that when she is not researching felon rights, she spends time in the company of her “two families.”

“While some girls bond with their fathers around the kitchen table, my father and I wake up at 5 a.m., put on our bright orange hats and vests and go hunting,” she said. “I love the hours spent waiting in anticipation talking about life and all its peculiarities, like where the soul is or how to prepare the best grilled cheese sandwich?”

Her second family? Temple University’s Gospel Choir.

Truman Scholarship awards $30,000 to 60 candidates who demonstrate leadership skills and exemplify a commitment to public service. Only 194 finalists have been selected for the award; Patterson is the only Truman finalist from Temple this year.