21 WKU students earn Gilman Scholarship for study abroad
- Thursday, June 3rd, 2021
(First row from left: Kindle Anderson, Sam Batcheldor, Gabrielle Bunton, Aaron Coin, Talysia Downing. Second row from left: Will Edwards, Kadietwo Fahnbulleh, Revin Hooper, Jameka Jackson-Tucker, Joseph Johnson. Third row from left: Heather Keen, Skyler Markwell, Mandy Myers, Carolina Ng, Catherine Sheffield. Fourth row from left: Alexis Smith, Alizabeth Smith, Isabella Sparling, Davon Taylor, Cassandra Wiley. Fifth row: Vivian Zheng.)
21 WKU students earned the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad in the March 2021 application cycle. This reflects a 100% selection rate for WKU applicants who worked with the Office of Scholar Development to prepare applications. The recipients earned scholarships totaling $91,500.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the operations of the scholarship program and the study abroad programs it funds. Recipients whose study abroad plans are interrupted by travel restrictions are able to defer awards to study abroad programs that begin before April 30, 2022 or apply funding to alternative programs, including credit-bearing virtual international opportunities.
The following students were awarded funding:
Kindle Anderson of Gallatin, Tennessee is the daughter of Matthew and Christi Anderson. A religious studies major with a minor in philosophy, she plans to pursue a career in research, perhaps as a university professor. She will study in Japan in fall 2021.
Sam Batcheldor of Louisville is a biology major with a minor in chemistry. With strong interest in international travel and cultures, as well as the humanity that unites them, he pursued the scholarship for a 12-country voyage on Semester at Sea in spring 2022.
Gabrielle Bunton of Bowling Green is the daughter of Runetta Arnold and Charles Bunton. A journalism major with a minor in communication studies, she is pursuing a career in journalism and writing to amplify marginalized voices. She will study in Denmark in fall 2021.
Aaron Coin of Bowling Green is a music major. He is pursuing a career that involves creating, playing, and sharing music for both beauty and impact. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, he planned to study in Austria in summer 2021.
Talysia Downing of Lexington is a social work and organizational leadership major pursuing an interdisciplinary patient navigator certificate toward a career as a medical social worker. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, she planned to study in Tanzania in summer 2021.
Will Edwards of Independence is an international affairs and political science major pursuing a career as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, he planned to study in the Czech Republic and Central Europe.
Kadietwo Fahnbulleh of Louisville is the daughter of Kadiatu and Alpha Fahnbulleh. With majors in criminology and psychological science, she is pursuing a career as a forensic lab technician working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She will study in South Korea in spring 2022.
Revin Hooper of Nashville, Tennessee is the daughter of Alesia Choice. She will join the Army National Guard this summer and then complete her degree in nursing. In pursuit of a career as a travel nurse, Revin planned to study in Costa Rica in summer 2021, prior to COVID-19 disruptions.
Jameka Jackson-Turner of Lexington is a psychology major with a minor in communication studies. With a love of traveling and fashion modeling, she is pursuing a career as a flight attendant and model. In spring 2022, she will study in Italy.
Joseph Johnson of Owensboro is the son of Aleta Butler, Robert Johnson, and the late Elizabeth Johnson. With majors in organizational leadership and Chinese, he is pursuing a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Prior to COVID disruptions, he planned to study in Taiwan in summer 2021.
Heather Keen of Rineyville is the daughter of Nancy and Glenn Mattingly and mother of WKU student Steven Keen. After 15 years in real estate and property management, she is exploring a career in government or international business through a major in organizational leadership. She will study Arabic in Jordan in summer 2021.
Skyler Markwell of Louisville is the granddaughter of Carolyn and Darrel Hughes and daughter of Marlena Bailey and Kevin Markwell. A student in the learning and behavior disorders and elementary education dual certificate program, she will student teach in Ecuador in spring 2022.
Mandy Myers of Kansas City, Missouri is in Chinese and psychology. She is pursuing a career as an interpreter, hoping to break the language barrier between Chinese and English speakers through translation and deeper connection. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, she planned to study in Taiwan in summer 2021.
Carolina Ng of Atlanta, Georgia is the daughter of Carolina Velazco and Arturo Ng. With studies in marketing, international business, applied data analytics, and Chinese studies, she is pursuing a career in marketing. In fall 2021, she will study in Taiwan.
Catherine Sheffield of Clarksville, Tennessee is the daughter of Phyllis Sheffield. An English major with minors in teaching English as a second language and gender and women’s studies, she plans to use creative writing to teach English abroad. In summer 2021, she is studying in the United Kingdom.
Alexis Smith of Russell Springs is the daughter of Lydia and Tracy Smith. With a major in biology and a minor in chemistry, she is pursuing a career as a physician to provide greater access to healthcare in rural areas. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, she planned to study in Tanzania in summer 2021.
Alizabeth Smith of Russell Springs is the daughter of Lydia and Tracy Smith. After completing a biology degree, she will attend medical school with a commitment to work in a medically underserved region of Kentucky. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, she planned to study in Tanzania in summer 2021.
Isabella Sparling of Louisville is the daughter of John and Gioconda Sparling. A music and criminology major, she is pursuing a career in opera. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, she planned to study in Austria, with intention to share insight into Austria culture and lieder, German art songs.
Davon Taylor of Louisville is the son of Vawanna Taylor and grandson of Josephine Taylor. As a broadcasting major with a minor in criminology, he is pursuing a career as a reporter or anchor. In fall 2021, he will study abroad in Denmark.
Cassandra Wiley of Hodgenville is a biology major. With a dream of opening an aviary in order to rescue and rehabilitate abused and neglected parrots and aid in environmental conservation, she will study in Costa Rica and Panama in spring 2022.
Vivian Zheng of Albany studies Asian religions and cultures, Chinese, international business, and applied data analytics. She is pursuing a career assisting Chinese-speaking immigrants in their transition to life in the U.S., especially through securing employment. Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, she planned to study in Taiwan in summer 2021.
All of the students recognized in this application cycle worked with Lindsey Houchin, coordinator of international opportunities in the Office of Scholar Development at WKU, to prepare their applications and with advisors in the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning to find the best study abroad program to fit their goals.
Students interested in studying abroad in fall 2021, winter 2022, spring 2022, or summer 2022 are encouraged to work with the Office of Scholar Development at WKU and the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning before the upcoming Gilman Scholarship deadline on October 5.
About the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship: Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman Scholarship program funds internships or study abroad programs for undergraduate Pell Grant recipients. Since 2001, the Gilman Scholarship has enabled more than 31,000 Americans to study in 151 countries, representing diverse backgrounds including ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, and first-generation college students.
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.
About the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL): SAGL serves the WKU community by engaging students, faculty and staff in diverse, educational and cultural experiences through faculty-led, exchange, consortia and other study abroad opportunities.
Contact: Lindsey Houchin, email@example.com