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Timeliness Leads to Award for Truksa

April 26, 2022

Sometimes timing can be hard to explain.

Senior Christopher Truksa traveled to Geneva, New York, in early April to attend the ASIANetwork Annual Conference, where he was receiving an award for earning first place in the conference’s student essay competition. Travel from southern Idaho to upstate New York isn’t always smooth and easy, so Truksa’s arrival was delayed.

He got to the conference just in time to receive his award. Very good timing.

Last summer, the political economy and art double-major researched the Chinese social credit system – similar to an American credit score, but with social considerations as well as financial – as part of his membership in the College’s Gipson Honors Program. Political economy professor Rob Dayley recommended that he submit it to the ASIANetwork’s student essay competition. Truksa found out his essay had won just a few weeks before the conference and he was able to attend to receive his award, give a presentation on the topic, and spend time around people with similar interests.

“Most people (who attended the conference) were from the eastern seaboard, so there were lots of jokes about mixing up Idaho and Iowa or Ohio,” Truksa laughed. “There was a fair amount of surprise and interest, but it was fun. The whole weekend, both inside the conference and outside the conference.”

Truksa’s interest in Chinese politics, economy, and society could also be considered a testament to good timing.

“I got put in the wrong Civ class my freshman year,” Truksa said. “I was supposed to be with (history professor) Steve Maughan in the western civilization class but, instead, I got put into one with (history professor) Jeff Snyder, which was more Asia-centric.”

The switch, though unplanned and unintentional, has shaped Truksa’s path ever since.

“It was the most fascinating class I had ever taken,” Truksa said.

Since, he has taken multiple classes on Asian history, politics, and economy. He was slated to study abroad in China last year, but the program was canceled due to COVID-19 precautions. And he says his goal is to one day teach at the college level on the topics. He says the destination is known but the steps of the journey, like the ASIANetwork conference, are being discovered along the way.

“Getting to talk about things you’re really interested in with other people who are also really interested in them is really exciting,” he said. “You just feed off each other and meet some great people.”

The College of Idaho has a 130-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit