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Dartmouth's DeBot Awarded Truman Scholarship

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By David Silverman(
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The last paragraph in the mission statement of the Dartmouth College Athletic Department states that ‘here we aim to create an environment that enables continuous learning, career preparation, and attainment of maximum performance.’

Having those opportunities and guidance from coaches, faculty and staff members have helped junior Brandon DeBot excel on the tennis court, in the classroom as well as in the Dartmouth community.

Recently, DeBot received the prestigious Truman Scholarship. The Stevens-Point, Wis., native was one of just 62 recipients nationwide as a rigorous application interview process saw a review board select his work out of 629 applications from 293 colleges and universities nationwide.

The Truman Foundation selects exceptional college juniors who are committed to public service careers in fields such as government, education or nonprofits. Truman Scholars are given financial support for graduate studies, leadership training or fellowships.

Most Ivy League student-athletes learn to balance classwork with practice and training, but DeBot has had to balance all that and his intense involvement within the community.

“School, athletics and my extracurriculars have kept me focused and surprisingly stress free,” DeBot said. “I think one of the positives is that I have outlets to focus on. Each has served as a way for me to escape, when I’m in the moment I have the ability to focus everything on that activity.”

On the court, DeBot has matured into a team leader and one the squad’s top performers. With one match remaining in the 2012-13 regular season, the third-year player has amassed 10 wins in singles action, including four in Ivy League play. He also has 12 wins in doubles, while going 5-1 at No. 1 in conference matches.

“Brandon has been a starter in singles for all three years and has improved his doubles to the point where he is currently part of a strong No. 1 team with Xander Centenari,” Dartmouth men’s tennis head coach Chris Drake said. “He has also earned a reputation as 'the closer' on our team as he was won numerous clinching matches for the team over the years."

DeBot himself admits that when he arrived on campus he wasn’t a good doubles player.

“After working with our coaches I’ve become more comfortable and confident on the court,” DeBot stated. “My approach has changed and I’m more aggressive. I try to take over the point and matches right away to get an early edge. Xander plays with the same mentality and that’s why we complement each other so well.”

Off the court, DeBot juggles his classwork and extracurricular activities. He is the treasurer of the Chi Heorot Fraternity, Presidential Scholar for the Government Department and as a researcher in the Policy Research Shop. He has also interned at both the White House National Economic Council and The Charles Group, LLC.

“Brandon has an incredible ability to excel in multiple pursuits at the same time. He is a great student, is heavily involved with work and research on campus and is a top contributor on our team. His teammates call him 'the machine' but I think in a way this sells him short by implying that he is inherently different than everyone else. In my opinion, he is able to do all of this because of his incredible drive and tireless work ethic," Drake added.

Through interning, networking with other Truman Scholarship winners and participating in team-building exercises through DP2, Debot has recognized a connection between team dynamics and the workplace environment. The soft-spoken junior sees the place for athletics in developing leadership skills and teaching student-athletes the importance of balance and multi-tasking.

“Through tennis I’ve learned to enjoy the pressure of the moment. You need to accept it and work through it instead of letting it define you and negatively affect your performance. This translates well to the professional and academic worlds too,” Debot elaborated.

Tennis hasn’t been all pressure filled situations as the Badger State native gushes about his teammates and the bond they formed, citing them as his closest group of friends.

“Through team-building and other DP2 events we are stressed as being part of a team. In the group dynamic exercises you learn a good deal about leadership and it’s given me the opportunity to lead without have a formal role,” DeBot continued.

With his junior year nearly in the rearview DeBot has begun to think about his future and what being awarded the scholarship means.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity and it’s a relief to see that my hardwork has paid off. I’m looking forward to both the direct and indirect opportunities that the scholarship provides,” DeBot said. “Directly, I have money for graduate school and I get to spend a week with the other recipients attending conferences and such. Indirectly, it helps in the admissions process with graduate school and I have access to a network of scholars as current and past finalists have reached out to me,” he added.

DeBot plans on attaining a Law degree and a master’s degree in public policy, hoping to work in Washington. No matter where this opportunity leads him, one thing is clear to anyone that knows him: his future is bright.

“He is deserving in every way and it's a great accomplishment,” Drake concluded. Brandon's passion, work ethic and competitiveness are going to carry him far in life and I'm excited to see all the great things he will do after he graduates."