Emily Moss ’19 Wins Truman Scholarship, a Prestigious Award for Future Public Service Leaders

Emily Moss sits in conversation with a woman in an office.
April 20, 2018

Emily Moss ’19 has won a prestigious Truman Scholarship, an award created in honor of President Harry S. Truman to support graduate school and professional training for the next generation of public service leaders. Moss was one of 59 students selected from a record 756 candidates from 311 colleges and universities across the country.

The Bedford, Mass., native plans to use the $30,000 scholarship to pursue a career in urban policy with a focus on affordable housing. “I’ve always known I wanted to enter public service, but to receive validation from the Truman Foundation that I am headed on the right path is the greatest honor,” said Moss.

Moss traces her interest in public service to high school, when she spent many hours observing elected officials and town residents in Bedford make budget and policy decisions during town meetings.

“I was too young to vote then, but I think those experiences sparked a passion for the power of local action, and a passion for my community,” Moss said. She was involved in student government and was elected as a student representative to the school committee. “Serving my community became an inherent part of my life—I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else,” she said.

At Wellesley, Moss is a Ministrare Fellow for Wellesley Career Education’s Civic Engagement program, directing a team of student site coordinators in planning service immersion trips over winter and spring breaks.

She is a supervisor at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, and was co-president of Wellesley Students for Hillary and the membership director for the College Democrats of Massachusetts.

In her research, Moss, an economics major, has studied issues related to economic security and urban policy at Wellesley as well as with MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the New Economy Project, the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, and the Boston City Council.

As a policy maker, Moss said, she hopes to reframe the approach to affordable housing by shifting policymaking to being people-driven rather than just resource-driven.

“It’s easy to assume that the solution to the housing crisis is simply to increase the housing supply,” said Moss. “However, my conversations with individuals experiencing homelessness or with residents facing displacement have shown me that we cannot stop there.”

Moss said she would also like to align housing policy more with “the needs and voices of those directly impacted by housing insecurity.”

Dan Sichel, professor of economics and a Truman Scholar from the University of Michigan in 1981, congratulated Moss on her achievement. “She is super-talented and engaged in the best tradition of Wellesley students,” he said. “As a Truman Scholar, she joins a community committed to public service, an especially vital endeavor today with civic and democratic norms under pressure in the United States and around the world.”

Moss will receive her award along with her fellow Truman Scholars in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum on May 27.