Samantha Vaughn Named 2018 Confucius Institute People to People Award Honoree
- Author: Zack Ryle
- Author: Wednesday, September 19th, 2018
Samantha Vaughn, a senior at The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and South Oldham High School, has been named a 2018 People to People Award honoree by the Confucius Institute.
“Never in my life have I felt such gratitude than when I accepted this award,” stated Samantha. “The Confucius Institute and everyone involved in this event are out-of-this-world type of people. They are constantly searching for change, even if that means seeking personal discomfort, which truly embodies what it means to be an activist. Getting on stage in front of this world-loving, society-changing community was beyond a blessing and an absolute honor!”
Samantha was recognized as one of 10 People to People honorees on September 15th in Washington, D.C. at the third annual Confucius Institute National Honors Gala.
“This evening is about ten exceptional Confucius Institute students whose inspiring engagement with Chinese language and culture has changed their lives and cultivated a unique, multicultural learning community,” said Gao Qing, Executive Director for the Confucius Institute U.S. Center. “The ten People-to-People award honorees represent the vast diversity (in age, ethnicity, gender, profession, and socioeconomic level) of the millions of American forming Confucius Institute communities throughout the county.”
Samantha’s essay, entitled “Oh, The Places Our Shoes Go,” was written as a reflective piece following her visit to China this past March. The Confucius Institute at WKU sponsored the biennial “Gatton Academy Research China Trip,” in which Samantha and 16 of her fellow Gatton classmates and two chaperones visited China during spring break.
“Samantha’s essay entitled was a very insightful and introspective look into her experience during her trip to China,” stated Terrill Martin, Interim Director of the Confucius Institute at WKU.
During the trip, the group visited the U.S. Embassy in China, and Gatton Academy Director Dr. Lynette Breedlove spoke at North China Electric Power University about the importance of international education in Beijing. In addition, the students presented at an exchange forum with Chinese students at Greentown Yuhua School in Hangzhou, China about their perspectives of the educational differences and similarities between China and the U.S.
“Samantha is an extraordinary young woman. She is very open to experiences, constantly exuding enthusiasm about getting to know others.” states Breedlove. “Throughout our program in China, Samantha greeted each person and place with a huge smile, welcoming the opportunity to learn and build relationships. She constantly communicated the gratitude we all felt about the opportunity to experience China granted to us by the Confucius Institute and Hanban.”
In February, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center sent a solicitation to the Confucius Institutes across the nation to encourage students to share their stories about China. These stories could range from studying the language, engaging in the culture, or taking a trip to China. In June, Samantha was recognized from a group of 110 national entrants as one of ten students to be honored at the 3rd annual event.
To read Samantha’s full essay, please visit http://bit.ly/2NX5euC.
About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential 2-year STEM program for gifted and talented junior and seniors. Students at The Gatton Academy 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. For more information, please contact Zack Ryle at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 270-745-2971.
About the Confucius Institute at WKU: The Confucius Institute at WKU is a conduit of all that is China in Kentucky. These partnerships are far reaching that will not only create or advance research for faculty/staff, but offer research and internship opportunities for WKU students. Anyone interested in collaborating with us or interested in creating programs, contact Terrill Martin at (270) 745-3317.
About the Confucius Institute – U.S. Center: The Confucius Institute U.S. Center is a not-for-profit educational institution in Washington, D.C. with the mission of strengthening educational and cultural exchanges and fostering people-to-people interactions between China and the United States. The Center supports the US network of more than 100 Confucius Institutes and more than 500 affiliated (K-12) Confucius Classrooms through regional initiatives in four primary domains – education and professional development, arts and culture, academics and research, and public relations and outreach.