MIT NROTC Midshipman Named Truman Scholar

By Scott A. Thornbloom, Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs
Navy News Service

-- The scholarship includes $30,000 for graduate study for those committed to careers in government or the non-profit sector.

"Personally winning the scholarship is a culmination of all the work I have done so far here at MIT and through NROTC," said Midshipman 2nd Class Cameron McCord, a 21-year-old Springfield, Va., native. "It also signifies and cements the path I want to take in my career in the Navy through public service. It means a lot to me to be recognized but it also will motivate me to continuing devoting my life through public service."

McCord is majoring in both nuclear engineering and physics, and is a student in the Gordon-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Engineering Leadership Program, as well as a member of the NROTC unit. He has worked at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Brookhaven National Laboratory and plans to pursue a career in nuclear energy safety and nuclear nonproliferation.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, President of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, announced the names of the 54 college juniors selected for the prestigious honor from 48 U.S. colleges and universities across the country.

The 54 new Truman scholars were selected from among 587 candidates nominated by 292 colleges and universities. They were chosen by 16 independent selection panels of distinguished academic leaders, federal judges, elected officials, prominent public servants and past Truman scholarship winners.

"In 2009, an MIT Army ROTC alum received a Rhodes Scholarship and, since then, I've encouraged our MIT midshipmen to apply for prestigious scholarships and internships," said Capt. Curtis R. Stevens, commanding officer, Boston University-MIT NROTC Consortium. "Cameron McCord is an outstanding student. He desires to enter the nuclear navy upon commissioning in June 2013. His major of nuclear engineering and science with a minor in political science plus his interest in technical public policy issues made him a great applicant for the Truman Scholarship."

Stevens recalled that last summer, in addition to a summer Navy orientation cruise on a submarine, McCord interned at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

This summer, in addition to his first class cruise, McCord is planning to intern in the Office of Nuclear Energy (ONE) at the Department of Energy.

"Cameron has a knack of finding internships where his summer cruise enhances his internship experience," Stevens said. "Additionally Cameron excels at every level of midshipmen evaluation: academic, aptitude and physical fitness. He exemplifies the very best in the NROTC program, and he has maximized his midshipmen and MIT experience. His selection as a Truman Scholar clearly shows the caliber of our NROTC midshipmen."

According to their website,, the mission of the Truman Scholarship Foundation is to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service; and to provide them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service.

Remarkably, President Truman did not hold a college degree, though he certainly grasped a worldly education.

Truman once said, "Ignorance and its hand-maidens, prejudice, intolerance, suspicion of our fellow man-breed dictators and breed wars."

The self-awareness and sincerity required of Truman Scholars, along with their education that the Foundation supports, eases the edge of ignorance that pervades our tumultuous world. Perhaps what is most important about President Truman's living memorial is that it continues to grow each year.

McCord hopes to use the scholarship award toward a master's degree in nuclear science and engineering. He also said his unit has been very supportive as has his parents and two older siblings, who are also Navy officers.

"It's no secret that MIT NROTC produces great naval officers, specifically great naval engineers," McCord said. "But I hope this scholarship shows about our unit is we're more than just people technically grounded, that we do have midshipmen who have a passion for the larger picture of policy issues and being in for the long term. Someone who is driven to be in public service."

The NROTC program is overseen by Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. NROTC develops young men and women morally, mentally, and physically, and instills in them the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment. The program educates and trains young men and women for leadership positions in an increasingly technical Navy and Marine Corps.

Training is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department.

A listing of the new scholars can be found at the Truman Foundation website

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