Newsletter Article

Madison Truitt Named Chandler Scholar

“I want to address the needs of my community and beyond, working with Indigenous communities on our intergenerational trauma and our current burdens, as well as working with children who carry so much right from the start and often have parents who don’t know how to best help them process what they are feeling.”
     - Madison Truitt

This fall, a record number of psychology majors applied to become the 2021-22 Aric Chandler Scholar. Applicants were asked to demonstrate their interest in child or adolescent psychology by outlining their relevant volunteer, research, work, or personal experiences, as well as their educational and career goals. This year, thanks to the generosity of the Chandler family, friends, and other donors, the award amount was increased from $4,000 to $5,000. The recipient of this year's Aric Chandler Memorial Scholarship is psychology senior Madison Truitt.

Aric Chandler

In 2016, Aric Chandler had been admitted to the UW as a transfer student from Bellevue College and was on the way to fulfilling his dream of studying psychology here. Just days after being admitted, that dream was cut short when Aric died unexpectedly from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). What did not die on that day was Aric's passion and commitment to working with adolescents. Aric's parents, David and Kacee Chandler, along with his family members and friends, established an endowment to keep Aric's dream alive by providing support for transfer psychology majors who plan to work with children and adolescents.

Madison Truitt transferred to UW in autumn of 2020 from Shoreline Community College and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Law, Societies, and Justice. Madison is an Alaskan Native Tlingit woman who initially came to the Seattle area with a partner who was undergoing cancer treatments here. “In between moments of tender care and emergency,” Madison recalls, “I would take walks through the campus and felt drawn to the land and called to resume my education here at UW.”

Madison Truitt

Following her partner’s death, Madison realized that few resources existed to help her cope with the trauma and grief that she was experiencing, “especially as a 20 year-old Alaskan Native widow.” She decided then that she would pursue a path toward being a part of the solution to this problem. Studying psychology was the next step on that path. Now in her senior year as a UW psychology major, Madison is also active in Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), is the director of the American Indian Student Commission, and served as a peer leader for Psych 299, a course that welcomes and helps orient new transfer students who plan to major in psychology. “Connecting as a community has been one of the biggest highlights during my time at UW,” says Madison.

Reflecting on what the Aric Chandler Scholarship means to her in this moment, Madison says, “the scholarship allows me to be able to focus on how I can start incorporating the holistic approach of healing and mental health in every interaction I have with my peers, my coworkers, and my community.” Following graduation with her BA in psychology, Madison plans to return to her hometown in Alaska to be close to that community. “Obviously, the world is continuously fluid so no plans are set in stone,” Madison observes, “but I am excited to dive right into the work.”