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Holy Cross Junior Earns Prestigious Truman Scholarship

Victoria Mousley honored for academic success and commitment to the deaf community
June 8th, 2016 by 

College of the Holy Cross student Victoria Mousley ’17, a psychology major with a self-designed minor in deaf studies and a concentration in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies from Jericho, Vt., was selected as a 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholar. The scholarship, a highly competitive, merit-based award offered to U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals from Pacific Islands who want to go to graduate school in preparation for a career in public service, provides winners up to $30,000, and was awarded to 54 college juniors this year.

“Victoria Mousley looks different from most Truman Scholars. Instead of the more traditional political service or the now-popular social entrepreneurship that characterizes many Truman winners, Victoria will be a neuroscientist who works on deaf studies and language acquisition to influence educational policy,” says Anthony Cashman, director of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships and Graduate Students. “Victoria will most likely pursue her Ph.D in neuroscience at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where she is currently studying and researching, but she could use her scholarship to combine her Ph.D with a degree in public policy. With her talents and accomplishments, Victoria will have many options to serve the common good.”

Mousley was selected from among 775 applicants nominated by 306 colleges and universities. She is an active volunteer for Our Deaf Survivors Center, a non-profit located in Worcester, Mass. for deaf victims of domestic violence. She also volunteers as a teacher’s assistant at the Marie Philip School for the Deaf, the elementary school within The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Mass.

“I chose the [deaf studies] minor because I fell in love with the deaf community my freshman year, and I wanted to make that love a prominent part of my educational curriculum at Holy Cross,” Mousley says. “My classes under the deaf studies minor allowed me to prepare for my most recent semester at Gallaudet University, which was truly life changing.”

Mousley spent her spring 2016 semester studying at Gallaudet, the only liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing students in the world. During her semester Victoria worked part-time as a personal research assistant to Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, a cognitive neuroscientist who is co-principal investigator and Science Director of the National Science Foundation’s Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2). Dr. Petitto also serves as Scientific Director of the Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging, which is dedicated to studying bilingualism, visual language, and reading. Mousley will continue to conduct research alongside Dr. Petitto during the summer and fall of 2016. Her future research goals involve studying the neuroscience of language, applying that research to the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing (HoH) children, and informing education policies for deaf and HoH children.

Mousley, a member of the College Honors Program, is the sixth student from Holy Cross to earn a Truman Scholarship. Most recently, Jeffrey Reppucci ’14, founder and president of the non-profit organization Students Helping Children Across Borders, and founder of Working for Worcester, an initiative that provides infrastructure improvements to Worcester’s recreational spaces, received the award in 2013.

In addition to money for graduate studies, Truman Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to our thirty-third President. The Foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the Foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury.

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