Thompson, a first-generation student majoring in medical biology and cellular and molecular neuroscience, is USD’s 18th awardee since the scholarship’s inception in 1975. Thompson is the vice president of Charlie’s Cupboard, a Wawokiya peer mentor and a member of the Honors Program Inclusive Excellence Committee.

The Truman Scholarship is a federal memorial to Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States. Truman Scholars demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector and academic excellence. Each Truman Scholar receives funding for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling, and special internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government.

Thompson is one of 58 new Truman Scholars selected from 705 candidates nominated by 275 colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

“We are so proud of Cassie and everything she has accomplished,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “Cassie has dedicated her time to serving others at USD and in her community. She is a talented, hardworking student and incredibly deserving of the Truman Scholarship.”

Thompson has spent years volunteering with hospice, supporting individuals living with chronic pain. This work, as well as her passion for serving others, inspired Thompson to research the neurobiology of pain and more effective ways to treat it. She researches in the Burrell Lab at USD, focusing on mechanisms of learning and memory that affect how the nervous system respond to and processes painful stimuli.

To support others throughout the pandemic, Thompson co-founded The Siouxland Covid Safety Alliance in her hometown of Sioux City, Iowa. This community advocacy group distributed tens of thousands of masks and collaborated with multiple community agencies advocating for equitable evidence-based practices.

She is also a member of the Woodbury (Iowa) County Central Committee and a Woodbury County Precinct Caption. Thompson runs her own massage therapy business in Sioux City as well.

Upon graduation, Thompson is dedicated to pursuing dual M.D./MPH degrees to work for more equitable systems of care for all.

"I am so humbled and tremendously excited to join the Truman family," said Thompson. "With this award comes access to many resources to further my education and help me find more and better ways to serve others. I couldn't have done it without the whole team of professors, mentors, supporters and friends I have here at USD."

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