Information from 2021 Truman Scholars.
The National Youth Science Foundation congrats two 2018 NYSCamp Alumni, Mercedes Blancaflor (MD, 2018 and Iesha-LaShay (OK, 2018) for being selected as 2021 Truman Scholars!
Mercedes Blancaflor (MD, 2018), from Valdez, Alaska, Sadie studies human-environmental systems and cultural anthropology at Stanford. Sadie’s people-centered approach to issues of environmental justice and climate displacement is informed by her diverse experiences, ranging from co-founding a nationally-recognized youth climate activism organization, interviewing climate activists in red states on how to bridge the partisan divide, farming on frozen Alaskan tundra nearly 400 miles from the nearest road system, and working as a stagiaire at a sustainability-oriented Michelin-starred restaurant. Recently, she served as co-director of Baole, a Bay Area organization that seeks to apply a cultural lens to sustainable eating. On a national level, Sadie serves as board co-chair for Power Shift Network and as the National Reinvestment Director for the College Climate Coalition. She hopes to pursue a JD in immigration and climate law to address the growing climate refugee crisis. In her spare time, Sadie loves unicycling, playing the mellophone in the Stanford Marching Band, and dancing to Gloria Trevi.
Iesha-LaShay (OK, 2018) is double-majoring in Africana studies and law and society and minoring in rhetoric and composition at Oberlin College. At Oberlin, she is a member of Oberlin’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day Committee, a writing associate at the Writing Center, a writing tutor at Oberlin High School, an assistant in the Fellowship and Awards Office, and serves on the Student Honor Committee. She also co-founded Coronavirus Oberlin Mutual Aid Fund (COMA), a mutual aid organization that raised over $60,000 to support more than 100 first-generation and/or low-income students. Iesha-LaShay volunteers at juvenile detention facilities throughout Ohio with Writers in Residence, which piqued her interest in juvenile justice and combating social determinants that have resulted in poverty and a cycle of survival crime. Iesha-LaShay plans to pursue a JD to expand her impact in her communities by representing indigent people in court, advising them of their rights, and challenging systemic injustice in the criminal justice system. Her life experience as a first-generation, low-income, Black, and Mvskoke woman with an incarcerated parent fosters her commitment to serving her communities. When Iesha-LaShay has free time, you can find her dancing, eating, watching travel vlogs, or speaking out about injustices.