Sally DuBose, a Washington resident since 1968 and a student at Catholic University, has been awarded a scholarship by the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation.

The foundation grants 102 scholarships yearly to students in the 50 states, the District and American territories. To qualify, applicants must be U.S. citizens or nationals, must pursue a graduate degree that will lead to a career in government, and must have demonstrated public service and scholastic aptitude.

A long recovery from a serious illness "inspired me to do what I wanted to do all my life," said DuBose, 47. She left her job in a local jewelry store and enrolled in undergraduate studies at the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University two years ago.

In the late 1950s, DuBose had attended night school in Philadelphia while teaching in a parochial grade school, but she had never gotten a degree.

"It's been phenomenal," Dubose said of her return to school. "At first I felt a little awkward, but the students were great." Her daughter, Coeli Lonzetta, a recent graduate of Rosemont College, and her stepson, Michael DuBose, a student at Harvard Law School, "were really supportive" of her return to school, she said.

DuBose, who has a grade point average of 3.87 on a 4.0 scale, plans to study for a master's degree in social work. She hopes eventually to work in the District in gerontology, helping combat the problem of abuse of the elderly.

As part of her application for the scholarship, DuBose wrote an essay on the city's Adult Protective Services Act of 1984 and was interviewed by a Truman Foundation panel. The scholarship will provide $5,000 for the final two years of her undergraduate study. When she receives her bachelor's degree, DuBose can reapply for an additional $10,000 grant.

"She just wanted to fulfill her dream of helping other people. She's very conscientious," said Dr. Sylvia Lee, chairman of the undergraduate social work program at Catholic University, who added that DuBose "brings a great deal with her to the school" because of her maturity and life experiences.

DuBose, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown, became interested in gerontology after serving in programs for the elderly.