WKU sees record success in national scholarships

Published: Aug. 18, 2016 at 9:48 PM CDT
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Western Kentucky University students and recent graduates achieved record success in multiple national scholarship competitions in the 2015-16 academic year. Of the all-time high 136 students and alumni who applied, 70 earned recognition, winning more than $465,000 in funding.

“We are very proud of each student who invested so much time and energy and submitted one or more national scholarship applications this year. WKU students and alumni who competed for these awards benefited from the support of numerous dedicated faculty and staff members and the university’s commitment to internationalization, undergraduate research, and community engagement,” said Dr. Audra Jennings, Director of the Office of Scholar Development. “OSD asks our students to dream big, and our students are not only dreaming big but also realizing those dreams.”

WKU President Gary A. Ransdell said the success is an indication of the potential of WKU’s students and the support they receive from faculty and staff to reach that potential. “Our students successfully compete with the best across the country,” Dr. Ransdell said. “This success also encourages more of our students to apply for these scholarships, and I fully expect the number of grantees to continue to rise.”

WKU students performed particularly well in competition for the nation’s most prestigious international scholarships this year. Grantees will be traveling to 21 countries spanning four continents.

Eight graduating seniors and recent graduates were selected as Fulbright grantees, and a further five designated as alternates. Grantees will begin their research, study, and English teaching assignments in France, Germany, Guatemala, Malaysia, Morocco, Taiwan and the United Kingdom between September 2016 and February 2017.

All five WKU students who applied for Boren Scholarships were selected for funding of an academic year of study in China and Jordan. The $20,000 scholarships are provided through the Department of Defense National Security Education Program. An additional five students won Department of State-funded Critical Language Scholarships for summer intensive language study, also in China and Jordan. A record-tying four Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science students earned National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarships to study language and culture in Moldova, Morocco and China this summer.

Seventeen students earned Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to fund study abroad. The combined value of $63,000 allows these students to pursue academic, internship and student teaching experiences in Austria, Costa Rica, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Tanzania.

For the second year in a row, WKU had two Truman Scholarship nominees selected as finalists. The Truman Scholarship, which awards $30,000 for graduate school, is the nation’s highest honor for undergraduates dedicated to careers in public service.

Two of WKU’s four nominees for the Goldwater Scholarship were recognized as honorable mentions this year. The Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship for undergraduates aiming for careers in scientific research.

About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping WKU students in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in nationally competitive scholarships.

- WKU - a leading American university with international reach -

2015-2016 WKU Nationally Competitive Scholarship Winners

Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship

Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, the SMART Scholarship pays for tuition and education-related fees and provides an annual stipend, paid summer internships, a health insurance reimbursement allowance, and employment placement after graduation in a government lab.

• Joshua Baunach (2016 Graduate of the Gatton Academy, Taylorsville, Kentucky)—Semifinalist

• Brittany Broder* (2016 Graduate in Physics and Arabic, Saint Charles, Missouri)— Semifinalist

• Charles Thomas Gregory* (Biochemistry, Mayfield, Kentucky)— Semifinalist

• Konnor Jones (Chemistry, Bowling Green, Kentucky)— Semifinalist

• Kristen Pedersen (2016 Graduate of the Gatton Academy, Barbourville, Kentucky)— Semifinalist

Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Open to juniors dedicated to a career in public service, the highly competitive Truman Scholarship recognizes service and leadership and provides up to $30,000 in funding for graduate education.

• Alex Hezik** (Sustainable Agriculture [Self-Designed], Campbellsville, Kentucky)—Finalist

• Jay Todd Richey** (Political Science and Asian Religions & Cultures, Glasgow, Kentucky)—Finalist

Fulbright Grants

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program receives approximately 10,000 applications and awards approximately 1,800 grants to recent graduates and young professionals. Awardees either conduct independent research, study, or arts projects or teach English and American culture in up to 140 countries around the world for up to a year. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction between the grantee and his or her host community.

• Brittany Broder* (2016 Graduate in Physics and Arabic, Saint Charles, Missouri)—Research/Study Grant to France

• Jessica Brumley** (2015 Graduate in English for Secondary Teachers and English, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)—English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan

• Elizabeth Gribbins* (2015 Graduate in French and Political Science, Louisville, Kentucky)—English Teaching Assistantship to Morocco

• Jarred Johnson* (2016 Graduate in English and German, Somerset, Kentucky)—English Teaching Assistantship to Germany

• Bailey Mack** (2015 Graduate in International Affairs, Spanish, and Leadership Studies, Louisville, Kentucky)—English Teaching Assistantship to Malaysia

• Tyler Prochazka** (2016 Graduate in International Affairs, Asian Religions & Cultures, and Economics, Newton, Kansas)—Research/Study Grant to Taiwan

• Megan Skaggs* (2016 Graduate in English and International Affairs, Brownsville, Kentucky)—English Teaching Assistantship to Guatemala

• Ryan Vennell* (2014 Graduate in Broadcasting, Chatham, Illinois)—Research/Study Grant to the United Kingdom

• Audrey Brown* (2016 Graduate in Biology and Chemistry, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Research/Study Grant to the United Kingdom, Alternate

• Sarah Haywood* (2015 Graduate in English and History, Harlan, Kentucky)—Research/Study Grant to the United Kingdom, Alternate

• Emma Shoaf* (2016 Graduate in International Affairs and Spanish, Lexington, Kentucky)—Binational Internship in Mexico, Alternate

• Mallory Treece* (2015 Graduate in Political Science, Smiths Grove, Kentucky)—English Teaching Assistantship to Germany, Alternate

• Justin Wellum* (2014 Graduate in Biochemistry and Leadership Studies, Louisville, Kentucky)—English Teaching Assistantship to Malaysia, Alternate

Boren Awards for International Study

Funded by the Department of Defense National Security Education Program, Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 for up to a year of study abroad focusing on building linguistic and cultural proficiency in countries critical to American national security.

• Sarah Cook** (Asian Religions & Cultures and International Affairs, Louisville, Kentucky)—Chinese

• Mackenzie Donoghue** (Chinese and Asian Religions & Cultures, Seoul, South Korea)—Chinese

• Megan Laffoon** (Biology, Louisville, Kentucky)—Chinese

• Ella Shipp* (Asian Religions & Cultures, Arabic, and History, Owensboro, Kentucky)—Arabic

• Kelly Tursic** (International Affairs and Asian Religions & Cultures, Union, Kentucky)—Chinese

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship seeks to recognize excellence in the sciences and to encourage talented students to pursue research careers. The award provides up to $7,500 per year for educational expenses to sophomores and juniors.

• Kristen Pedersen (2016 Graduate of the Gatton Academy, Barbourville, Kentucky)—Honorable Mention

• Franklyn Wallace* (Biochemistry, Chemistry, Georgetown, Kentucky)—Honorable Mention

Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

The Udall Foundation awards 60 scholarships of up to $7,000 each to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to American Indian nations or to the environment.

• Alexis Corbin** (Geography-Environmental Studies/Asian Religions and Cultures, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)—Honorable Mention

James Madison Fellowship

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation offers $24,000 James Madison Graduate Fellowships to individuals desiring to become outstanding teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary school level.

• Shelley Spalding* (2015 Graduate in History, Social Studies, and Spanish, Lebanon, Kentucky)—Honorable Mention

Rotary Global Grant Scholarship

Rotary International sponsors Global Grant Scholarships for up to US $40,000 for graduate study outside North America. Candidates must be endorsed by a grant-qualified Rotary Club and demonstrate commitment to a career that aligns with one of Rotary International’s six humanitarian areas of focus.

• Leslie Ford* (2016 Graduate in Public Health, Centertown, Kentucky)—The Netherlands

Princeton in Latin America (PiLA)

PiLA matches partner NGO and multilateral organizations engaged in socially responsible development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean with highly qualified and motivated recent college graduates who are interested in year-long service fellowship opportunities throughout the region.

• Emma Shoaf* (2016 Graduate in International Affairs and Spanish, Lexington, Kentucky)—Dominican Republic

Princeton in Asia (PiA)

PiA sponsors 150 fellowships and internships in 20 Asian countries. The goal is to promote good will and understanding between East and West.

• Marissa Webb* (2016 Graduate in Political Science and History, Georgetown, Kentucky)—Finalist

Critical Language Scholarship

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Critical Language Scholarship provides 7-10 weeks of intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences abroad. The award covers all costs for travel, study and living expenses during the program.

• Brian Anderson** (Economics, Asian Religions & Cultures, and International Affairs, Buffalo, Kentucky)—Chinese

• Jody Dahmer** (Political Science and International Business, Louisville, Kentucky)—Chinese

• Nathan Read** (Economics, International Affairs, and Asian Religions & Cultures, Belleville, Illinois)—Chinese, Declined

• Tristan Shaw** (International Business, Glasgow, Kentucky)—Chinese

• Mollie Todd* (Anthropology and Arabic, Wallingford, Kentucky)—Arabic

• Sidney Ehrenborg** (Management, Fisherville, Kentucky)—Chinese, Alternate

• Dalton Harshbarger** (International Business and Spanish, Burlington, Kentucky)—Chinese, Alternate

• Kate Hart** (International Affairs, Spanish, and Asian Religions & Cultures, Princeton, Kentucky)—Chinese, Alternate

• Logan Johnson** (International Business, Russellville, Kentucky)—Chinese, Alternate

Fulbright United Kingdom Summer Institute (UKSI)

Fulbright UKSI is a 3-7 week summer program for American undergraduates with at least two years of undergraduate study left to complete. Fully-funded participants are placed at a highly regarded UK university where they explore the culture and history of the UK and develop academic skills in presentation, research and communication.

• Angel Ann Semrick* (Special Education/Elementary Education, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Kings College London

National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)

The State Department’s NSLI-Y provides merit-based scholarships to U.S. high school students interested in learning less-commonly studied foreign languages. This scholarship covers all program costs for six weeks of intensive study abroad, including travel to the applicant’s destination, tuition, housing, and activities.

• Megan Brown (2016 Graduate of the Gatton Academy, Campbellsville, Kentucky)—Arabic

• Corey Goodwin (2016 Graduate of the Gatton Academy, Gracey, Kentucky)—Russian

• Logan Nofsinger (2016 Graduate of the Gatton Academy, Louisville, Kentucky)—Chinese

• Emma Saarinen (2016 Graduate of the Gatton Academy, Shelbyville, Kentucky)—Russian

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants of up to $5,000 for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad.

• Shaumik Alam (Biochemistry, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Jordan, Summer 2016

• Maleah Boisture (Health Care Administration, Sacramento, Kentucky)—Tanzania, Summer 2016

• Kalyn Edwards* (Film, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—South Korea, Fall 2016

• Tanya Escobar (Spanish, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Spain, Summer 2016

• Itunu Francis (Health Care Administration, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—India, Summer 2016

• Sydnie Gordon ((Nursing, Mount Eden, Kentucky)—Tanzania, Summer 2016

• Durwan Green (International Business and Spanish, Lewisville, Texas)—Spain, Summer 2016

• Farah Hamoudi (International Business, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Jordan, Summer 2016

• Salvador Hernandez** (International Business, Nashville, Tennessee)—Taiwan, Summer 2016

• Kaitlyn Hurt (Dental Hygiene, Mousie, Kentucky)—South Korea, Fall 2016

• Brandi Lemay (Elementary Education, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Ireland, Fall 2016

• Allison Lincoln (Paralegal Studies, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Austria, Summer 2016

• Dylan Mast (Nursing, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Costa Rica, Summer 2016

• Kristen Robertson (Elementary Education, Belton, Kentucky)—Italy, Fall 2016

• Stephen Rosado (Entrepreneurship, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Japan, Summer 2016

• Nicholas Smith (Business Economics, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Jordan, Summer 2016

• Carlos Taylor (Criminology, Evanston, Illinois)—Jordan, Summer 2016

Freeman Awards for Study in Asia

Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia.

• Kate Hart** (International Affairs, Spanish, and Asian Religions & Cultures, Princeton, Kentucky)—China, Summer 2016

• Salvador Hernandez** (International Business, Nashville, Tennessee)—Taiwan, Summer 2016

Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society’s Study Abroad Grants are designed to help support undergraduates as they seek knowledge and experience in their academic fields by studying abroad. Fifty $1,000 grants are awarded each year.

• Brent Harney* (Biology, Lexington, Kentucky)—United Kingdom

• Christopher McDaniel (Biology and Chemistry, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—Costa Rica

• Maggie Sullivan* (International Affairs, Louisville, Kentucky)—Morocco

• Stella Treumann** (International Affairs and Chinese, Basel, Switzerland)—China

• Jessica Vaughn* (Biology and Chemistry, Bowling Green, Kentucky)—United Kingdom


* Honors College Student/Alumnus

** Chinese Flagship Program and Honors College Student

Of the all-time high 136 students and alumni who applied, 70 earned recognition, winning more than $465,000 in funding.