UNC junior Mina Yakubu named a Truman Scholar

Mina Yakubu, a Carolina junior, has just been selected as a 2020 Truman Scholar.

Created in 1975 soon after President Harry S. Truman passed away, the Truman Scholarship Foundation awards merit-based scholarships to college students who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, participate in leadership development activities, and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government. The foundation selects approximately 60 scholars each year.

“Mina has the intelligence, knowledge, drive, presence, experience, leadership capacity and persuasive abilities to make great changes for the better on a national level,” said Inger Brodey, associate professor in English and comparative literature. “We foresee a highly promising professional and international trajectory, after completing her law degree with an emphasis on human rights law.”

An African studies and political science double major, Yakubu has extensive experience with civil rights advocacy and public service. Her interests in immigration and migration struggles stem from her own experiences as an immigrant from Ghana, where she subsequently also worked as an intern, supporting citizens’ access to legal counsel. At Carolina, Yakubu is a Morehead-Cain scholar and extremely active student, particularly in matters related to service to African peoples, human rights and immigration.

Yakubu is a Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America organization Scholar and Jack Kent Cooke College Scholar. This past summer, she was selected as one of 20 TRIALS fellows (out of 2,000 applicants) to engage in a Harvard Law School program for promising legal scholars and practitioners. Yakubu has expanded her legal knowledge and international exposure through her work at the Innocence Project London, the Legal Aid Scheme in Greater Accra, Ghana and as a Fortis Society Future Global Leader. She is tireless in her work to improve human rights, especially for those who seek citizenship in the U.S.

The Truman Scholarship will provide Yakubu with the opportunity to attend law school. She aims to learn the law and use it as a tool to empower immigrants seeking residency and citizenship. Yakubu is interested in working with a side of immigration that is not given much attention in the current narrative, aiding the experiences of black African immigrants. She hopes to put her voice behind immigrants and those who have long been excluded from the conversation. Following the completion of law school, Yakubu would like to obtain placement at an international organization, specifically focused on issues of human rights, migration and immigration as it relates to African populations.