2024 Truman Scholarship Nominees Plan Futures in Public Service

We are delighted to share the names of Northeastern’s 2024 nominees for the Truman Scholarship for Public Service. Our candidates are focused on bringing their knowledge and expertise the table to make the world a better place —  from environmental justice in engineering, to obesity in marginalized communities, responsible governance of AI,  and criminal justice reform.

Kourtney Bichotte-DunnerKourtney Bichotte-Dunner COS’25, Environmental Studies
Mentors: London Parker-McWhorter, Kelsey Pieper, Sara Wylie
Home State: New York

Kourtney Bichotte-Dunner’s dedicated advocacy for environmental justice (EJ) is rooted in a transformative high school experience connecting with the movements beginnings. Since then, she’s been determined to work at the intersection of public policy, climate justice, and engineering. Kourtney founded the Sunrise NYC Youth Hub, emphasizing socio-economic representation and empowering NYC youth in political processes. She played a crucial role in passing progressive policies around the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC). At Northeastern, Kourtney joined the Wylie Environmental Data Justice Lab, contributing to the Reciprocity Project. It was here Kourtney recognized the lack of interest from affluent communities in EJ causes and focused on changing narratives in white affluent communities of Massachusetts. Building on her technical experience, Kourtney examined drinking water disparities addressing the infrastructure’s lack of funding and research. One project focused on flooding pathways of private wells, where Kourtney’s flooding experiment and data analysis, contribute to public health officials’ understanding and mitigation of contamination risks. Her involvement emphasizes the significance of addressing EJ issues within engineering, highlighting her commitment to fostering inclusivity and meaningful dialogue. Outside of work, Kourtney enjoys playing rugby for the Northeastern Women’s team and gardening.

Sebastian CaicedoSebastian Caicedo Bouve’25, Health Science
Mentors: Diane Ciarletta, Clara Cahill Farella, Jennifer Evans
Home State: Texas

With interests in healthcare and social change, Sebastian Caicedo is majoring in Health Science and minoring in Human Services. Sebastian is committed to social justice issues and an advocate for uplifting historically marginalized populations. Sebastian has pursued these interests throughout his time at Northeastern where he has served as a DEI Program Associate with NU PLACE facilitating educational and professional development programming for students from historically marginalized backgrounds, as well as with the EMPOWER Student of Color Collective developing educational programming and building community amongst students of color. Sebastian’s interest in public health led him to work with Northeastern’s Office of Prevention and Education delivering presentations on bystander intervention in situations encompassing sexual violence. A research internship at Northeastern’s Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research examining the role of physical activity for youth in educational settings helped Sebastian identify a pressing issue he wishes to address in his career – the United States’ rising obesity rates and its subsequent health conditions, in which he hopes to center the experiences of lower-income individuals and people of color. Sebastian firmly believes the best way to accomplish this is through an MPH/MSW dual degree, which will help him discover tangible ways to address this critical health crisis, especially within marginalized communities.

Pratika KatiyarPratika Katiyar DMSB’24, Business Administration/Communication Studies
Mentors: Liz Woolery, Hillary Davis, Hemanth Gundavaram
Home State: Virginia

Pratika Katiyar is an honors student majoring in Communication Studies and Business Administration and is interested in the intersections of technology, media, and law, with a passion for better serving marginalized voices. Pratika focuses on journalism with 21st century issues including responsible governance of generative AI, online harassment and free expression on social media. She aims to better understand the intricacies of these topics and the consequences of laws attached to them to help create better policies. In her home state of Virginia, Pratika championed student press freedom where she testified for legislation to reinstate First Amendment rights for student journalists and has since worked nationally to pass similar laws across the country. As a research assistant at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, Pratika continues to advocate for technology policy. Her current honors thesis investigates the use of AI for surveillance at U.S. borders. She has published for CNN, Teen Vogue, and Neiman Reports. Pratika hopes to combine her professional experiences with her passion for human rights to eventually pursue a graduate degree in law. Outside of her studies and research, Pratika is president of Northeastern Women in Business and enjoys dancing with No Limits Dance Crew.

Keneya OnuaguluchiKeneya Onuaguluchi CSSH’25, History, Culture, and Law
Mentors: Michael Tolley, Olivia Strange, Patrice Collins
Home State: California

Growing up as a Nigerian American in a predominantly white suburb of California, Keneya Onuaguluchi’s firsthand encounters with systemic injustices ignited her commitment to social justice and criminal justice reform. Prior to Northeastern, Keneya tutored Spanish-speaking children in underserved communities, spearheading cultural and curriculum reforms at her high school. However, Keneya’s true passion is readdressing and reforming deep-rooted disparities within the prison and police systems. As a PEAK Base Camp recipient, Keneya explored the challenges recently-released individuals face, uncovering significant barriers to employment, housing, and familial relationships with Professors Patrice Collins and Megan Denver. Keneya was then chosen to serve as one of the lead undergraduate volunteers, playing a pivotal role in Pathways, supporting formerly incarcerated individuals and assisting in logistical planning through Northeastern’s Center on Race, Crime, and Justice, in collaboration with the Boston Mayor’s Office. Keneya is also a research intern at the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, where she investigates racially motivated homicides during the Jim Crow Era in the South and Border States, seeking restorative justice for affected families. She is also a peer programmer for the Alliance of Civically Engaged Students and president of club basketball. With aspirations for a Master’s in Public Policy and Law degree, Keneya aims to continue advocating for marginalized communities impacted by criminal justice injustices.