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Gatton Academy Students Awarded NSLI-Y Scholarships for 8th Consecutive Year

  • Author: Derick Strode
  • Author: Friday, May 4th, 2018
Gatton Academy Students Awarded NSLI-Y Scholarships for 8th Consecutive Year

BOWLING GREEN - Four students at the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at WKU have received nationally-competitive National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarships for immersive, critical language study this summer.  They will travel to China, Estonia, Jordan, and Moldova. 

NSLI-Y scholarships are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offering full funding for the six- to eight-week programs.  Scholarships include a four-day orientation in Washington, DC, travel to and from the host countries, housing with host families, meals, and all activities and fees.  NSLI-Y scholarships are merit-based and for high-achieving secondary school students to learn critical languages through immersion. 

The Gatton Academy has three critical language tracks in Arabic, Chinese, and Russian called STEM + Critical Languages.  In these optional curricular tracks, students choose to pair progressively-rigorous critical language study each semester alongside the classic STEM curriculum offered to all Gatton Academy students. 

This marks the eighth consecutive year that Gatton Academy students have received National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarships.

This year’s recipients are noted below, with their sending school in parentheses.

Mattie Allara (Pikeville High School)

Allara will travel to Moldova for intensive Russian study with her NSLI-Y scholarship this summer.  She is a first-year student in The Gatton Academy’s STEM + Russian track taking Russian courses through WKU’s Department of Modern Languages.  Allara is the daughter of Andrea Allara of Pikeville. 

“I want to be able to grow in my Russian speaking, listening, and writing skills while in Moldova,” Allara said. “This summer will help me grow not only in my Russian language skills, but also as a person. I will be able to create friendships and bonds with individuals from across the country that have similar interests.”

During Allara’s first year at The Gatton Academy, she has also traveled with the school to Italy. 

Jonathan Bramley (Fairdale High School)

Bramley will continue his study of the Russian language this summer with his NSLI-Y scholarship in Estonia.  Bramley is a second-year Gatton Academy student who has studied Russian through WKU’s Department of Modern Languages.  He is the son of Candy Higdon and David Bramley of Fairdale.

“NSLI-Y will allow me to hone my Russian skills and learn about the culture,” Bramley said.  This will be Bramley’s first study abroad experience.

Lillian Hamm (Pulaski County High School)

Hamm will continue her study of Chinese language this summer with her NSLI-Y scholarship in Shanghai, China.  She is a graduating student in The Gatton Academy’s STEM + Chinese track taking courses in WKU’s Department of Modern Languages.  She is the daughter of Tina Benge-Hamm and Mark Hamm of Somerset. 

“Through full immersion, I expect my language skills to cultivate and blossom. Furthermore, I will not only gain a deeper understanding of a culture rooted in a history that extends thousands of years, but I will also gain an understanding of culture that is changing the landscape of modern society. This knowledge will be used in my continuing language study and career path,” Hamm said.  Hamm will continue her studies at WKU majoring in Chinese and Geology.

Hamm has previously traveled to China on two occasions.  In summer 2017, she traveled to China on the Confucius Institute’s Bridge to China Summer Program.  In spring 2018, she returned to China on a Confucius Institute research-intensive program.  She also participated in The Gatton Academy’s summer 2017 WKU study abroad course in England.

Sarah Yaacoub (Lafayette High School)

Yaacoub will travel to Jordan to study Arabic with her NSLI-Y scholarship this summer.  She is a first-year student in The Gatton Academy’s STEM + Arabic track taking Arabic classes in WKU’s Department of Modern Languages.  Yaacoub is the daughter of Dr. Jocelyn Mini of Lexington and Dr. Waddah Yaacoubagha of Nicholasville. 

“The NSLI-Y Scholarship will be an amazing opportunity to study Arabic in an applied setting and utilize dialectal vocabulary and language patterns that are common to everyday speech,” Yaacoub said. “I believe it will have a lasting impact on my verbal communication skills and conversational ability.”

During Yaacoub’s first year, she has also traveled abroad to China on a Confucius Institute research-intensive program and to Qatar as a Gatton Academy team member for the 4th International Schools Arabic Debating Championship.

About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential two-year program for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years and was named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.

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 Last Modified 5/1/18