Record 80 WKU students recognized in national scholarship competitions in 2017-18
- Author: Office of Scholar Development
- Author: Wednesday, August 1st, 2018
WKU students continued to perform at high levels in the nation’s most prestigious scholarship competitions during 2017-18. More than 176 WKU students and recent graduates applied. They earned recognition 80 times, totaling more than $926,261 in funding for graduate school, language study, public service and study abroad. (More: List of 2017-18 National Scholarship Winners)
“WKU has experienced tremendous growth in the number of students applying for and winning national scholarships. This year’s record-breaking application numbers and successes are due to the university’s and faculty’s commitment to undergraduate mentorship, internationalization and community engagement,” Dr. Audra Jennings, director of the Office of Scholar Development, said. “We are proud of all students who submitted applications this year and encourage students to continue dreaming big.”
In addition to record-breaking numbers, WKU students received a number of scholarships for the first time in WKU’s history:
- Loandria “Andi” Dahmer is the first Hilltopper to be selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar. The Truman Scholarship awards $30,000 for graduate school and provides a host of other benefits. It is the nation’s highest honor for undergraduates dedicated to careers in public service.
- Erick Murrer is the first WKU student to receive a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. The Pickering Fellowship is the premier award for students pursuing careers in the U.S. foreign service and provides $37,500 annually for a two-year graduate degree in a subject relevant to the foreign service. WKU alumna Isabella Greene was also recognized as an alternate.
- Hayden Grace and Deven Richardson are the first WKU students be selected as Charles B. Rangel Scholars. They are participating in a summer enrichment program at Howard University where they are enrolled in foreign policy courses and learning about international affairs careers.
WKU students continued to earn recognition in the Fulbright U.S. Student program. Six students received Fulbright grants that will fund an academic year abroad pursuing research, graduate degrees or English teaching in Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Taiwan and United Kingdom. WKU was also recognized as a Fulbright Top Producing Institution for the fourth consecutive year and fifth time overall.
WKU students received a number of scholarships to fund graduate study. Dana Biechele-Speziale was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue graduate study in chemistry. WKU alumnae Audrey Brown and Haleh Jeddi were recognized as honorable mentions. Lily Nellans received a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Warren East High School teacher Claire Bellar received a James Madison Graduate Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in history at WKU.
A record eleven WKU students were awarded Critical Language Scholarships, and two students were selected as alternates. Seven of the recipients are studying Mandarin Chinese in China, and another three recipients are studying Arabic in Jordan. One recipient declined his award to study Japanese in favor of another nationally-competitive opportunity. Three students received David M. Boren Scholarships to fund study in China during academic year 2018-19, and four students at the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky were awarded National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarships to study Arabic, Chinese and Russian.
A record nineteen Hilltoppers earned Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to fund study abroad. The combined value of $88,500 will allow students to pursue academic and internship experiences in Argentina, Austria, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania and Thailand. WKU was also recognized on the inaugural list of Gilman Top Producing Institutions and “Priority Achievements” lists for institutions with the most diversity in overseas destinations and for sending abroad the most first-generation college students, racial or ethnic minority students and students studying in STEM fields.
WKU student Lauren Pedersen received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship for undergraduates aiming for careers in scientific research. She is the only Goldwater Scholar from Kentucky this year.
Contact: Cory Dodds, (270) 745-5043.