Being from Owensboro and having competed in language competitions on WKU’s campus throughout high school, I was familiar with the modern language department and many of the faculty. I knew the high quality education I would receive. I went to WKU based on WKU’s goal of being a “leading American university with international reach.”
WKU is the place that taught me to love challenging myself, and it's the perfect place for someone with initiative to carve out a path for themselves. I started at WKU as a freshman in 2009 enrolling in the Honors College with a major in Spanish and a minor in Latin American studies. Through encouragement from my advisor in the Modern Languages department, I decided that I should branch out from one language and one major. My second semester I took on a double major in International Affairs, and in Fall 2010 I chose to learn Mandarin Chinese through the relatively new Chinese Language Flagship Program. Over winter 2010, I became part of WKU’s international reach when I studied abroad for the first time in China. I was immediately hooked on being abroad in places so distinct from my small home town in Kentucky. I returned with a new enthusiasm for language and learning about the world, so I threw myself into learning Mandarin and took on a third major in Asian religions and cultures.
At this point I was looking for my next chance to go abroad, and was introduced to the Office of Scholar Development. OSD helped me to apply for and win several competitive national scholarships, including two Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) and a Boren scholarship from the Department of Defense, all of which gave me the opportunity to study in China and Latin America multiple times.
I spent a year in China completing my Chinese Flagship Capstone year of study. I studied Mandarin and the politics and economics of the Asian pacific for one semester at Nanjing University. I then moved to Shanghai to do an internship with the American Chamber of Commerce, a research internship with the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS), a think tank belonging to the city government of Shanghai.
While working in Shanghai I was introduced to my current company and was offered a job to return after graduation from the Flagship program and WKU in August. I now work for a nuclear energy consulting firm in Shanghai where I am involved in helping foreign companies find success in their China operations. I am involved with everything from market entry research and analysis to supplier and partner searches and business development on behalf of our clients, as well as factory production management for the nuclear products they fabricate in China.
This work provides a way to keep on challenging myself, as I learned to love to do through WKU. I attribute my success to WKU’s encouragement to always reach higher to see what you can attain and to the attention and resources they give to students in order to accomplish their goals. Because of that support, I have gone farther than I ever imagined.