6 Gatton Academy students win Department of State scholarships for summer language immersion
|Author: Derick Strode|
Date: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017
Caption: Top L-R - Alexander Banaszak, David Ewing, Noemi Leibman; Bottom L-R - Benjamin Luckett, Evan "Van" Poole, Sarah Beth Sarver
Six students at the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at WKU have received nationally-competitive scholarships for immersive, critical language study this summer. They will travel to China, Estonia, and Morocco. While Gatton Academy students received National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarships every year for the past seven, six recipients marks the highest number of awards in a single year for the school.
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.
Five of the students are in The Gatton Academy’s STEM + Critical Languages tracks in Arabic or Chinese. In these optional curricular tracks, students choose to pair progressively-rigorous critical language study each semester alongside the STEM courses offered to all Gatton Academy students. In addition to the established tracks in Arabic and Chinese, The Gatton Academy will introduce a new Russian track next academic year.
The recipients crafted their applications throughout the fall semester with help from staff in the Office of Scholar Development and The Gatton Academy.
This year’s recipients are noted below, with their sending school in parentheses.
Alexander Banaszak (Oldham County High School)
Banaszak will return to China for intensive language study with his NSLI-Y scholarship this summer. He previously traveled to China during spring break 2016 with a Gatton Academy-WKU Confucius Institute research-intensive program.
He is the son of Colleen and Terry Banaszak of Crestwood. A second-year Gatton Academy student, Banaszak is currently enrolled in his fourth level of Chinese Flagship courses at WKU.
Banaszak said he applied to the NSLI-Y scholarship “to gain a better understanding of Chinese and learn more about the differences in lifestyle and culture between the United States and China.”
During Banaszak’s two years at The Gatton Academy, he has also studied abroad in England and Greece. He has performed mentored research with Dr. Sanju Gupta in the WKU Department of Physics and Astronomy.
David Ewing (Henry Clay High School)
Ewing will continue his study of the Chinese language this summer with his NSLI-Y scholarship.
Ewing is the son of Tanya and Dr. Robert Ewing of Lexington. A first-year Gatton Academy student, he is currently in his second-level Chinese course in the WKU Chinese Flagship program.
Ewing acknowledged the levels of support he has received to reach this opportunity. He stated, “I am extremely grateful to my parents, my professors and instructors within the Chinese Flagship, and the faculty and resources of The Gatton Academy for helping me make this dream a reality.”
Since starting at The Gatton Academy, Ewing has also traveled abroad in Greece.
Noemi Leibman (North Oldham High School)
Leibman will travel to Estonia for intensive Russian study with her NSLI-Y scholarship this summer.
A first-year Gatton Academy student, Leibman is the daughter of Maria Margulis and Alexander Leibman of Prospect.
“The NSLI-Y Russian summer program will allow me to immerse myself in Russian language and culture. I look forward to getting to know both my peers in the program and native Estonians,” Leibman said.
In addition to language study, Leibman is involved in a mentored research project with Dr. Lance Hahn of the WKU Department of Psychological Science.
Benjamin Luckett (Woodford County High School)
Luckett will return to China with his NSLI-Y scholarship this summer. He previously traveled to China during spring break 2016 with a Gatton Academy-WKU Confucius Institute research-intensive program.
Luckett is the son of Wendy and Daniel Luckett of Versailles. As a second-year Gatton Academy student, he is currently enrolled in his fourth-level Chinese Flagship course at WKU.
Luckett is looking forward to the immersive language setting. “I hope to greatly improve my language skills in a short amount of time,” he said. “I also wish to understand the country's culture and people in a way that learning Chinese in the United States could never provide me.”
In addition to his previous travel in China, he also studied abroad with WKU in Costa Rica.
Evan “Van” Poole (Muhlenberg County High School)
Poole will continue Chinese study on the NSLI-Y scholarship.
He is the son of Ron and Lisa Poole of Central City. Poole is a first-year Gatton Academy student and is currently in his second level of Chinese in the WKU Chinese Flagship program.
Poole is looking forward to practicing already-honed skills and picking up new vocabulary in China. “I expect to become very comfortable with the vocabulary I already know, and I will work at listening to learn natural and practical words and phrases,” he said.
Poole has also traveled abroad in Greece since starting at The Gatton Academy.
Sarah Beth Sarver (Central Hardin High School)
Sarver’s NSLI-Y scholarship will take her to Morocco for study this summer.
She is the daughter of Laura Beth and Timothy A. Sarver of Elizabethtown. Sarver is involved in her second semester of Arabic study with WKU’s Modern Languages department through The Gatton Academy’s STEM + Arabic curricular path.
Sarver anticipates personal growth from her first trip out of the country. “I expect to grow up some. I think it’s impossible not to grow up when you’re exposed to so many new things in such a short amount of time. I most look forward to the people, places, and experiences I will encounter this summer.”
About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential high school 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 seven 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.
Contact: Zack Ryle, (270) 745-2971
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 national or international scholarships.
Contact: Dr. Audra Jennings, (270) 745-5043.
- All Categories
- March 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- April 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- JUNE 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2015 E-Newsletter
- December 2015 ICYMI
- January 2016 ICYMI
- MAY 2016 ICYMI
- February 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS July 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
- All Categories
- Academic Outreach
- Continuing & Professional Development
- Online Learning
- Summer Sessions
- Winter Term
- Career & Workforce Development
- Lifelong Learning
- Society for Lifelong Learning
- WKU On Demand
- Study Away
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning
- Cohort Programs
- Dual Credit
- Training Resources & Event Planning Services
History will be made on Nov. 29 when WKU will get its first chapter of SALUTE, a national honor society for student veterans. Seven charter members will be inducted into SALUTE at 5 p.m. in the Veterans Resource Center, 410 Tate Page Hall.
Three alumni from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology who work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have been assigned to Puerto Rico to assist in post-hurricane recovery efforts.
The Department of Student Financial Assistance will be closed from Wednesday, Nov. 22nd through Friday, Nov. 25th. The office will reopen on Monday, Nov. 27th.
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,