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Celebrating Ten Years of Big Dreams

The Office of Scholar Development is celebrating its Tenth Anniversary! Established in 2008, the Office of Scholar Development is charged with challenging WKU students to dream big and to assist in making those dreams attainable.

The Office of Scholar Development provides support to students on all campuses and in all majors who are applying for nationally competitive scholarships. OSD supports WKU's role as a student-centered, applied research university by encouraging undergraduate mentorship and research, internationalization, and engagement with the community and region.

OSD Graphic with text: Celebrating Ten Years of Big Dreams

Our History

A Top Producer

Western Kentucky University has been recognized as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Student grantees among master's degree-granting institutions for the last four consecutive years and five times overall. WKU was first recognized as a Top Fulbright-Producing Institution in 2010.
Fulbright Top Producer 2017-18 Badge
Gilman Top Producer Badge 2017-18
WKU was recognized on the inaugural list of Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Top Producers in 2018. WKU was also recognized for achievements related to the Gilman Scholarship's priorities: diversity in study abroad destination and aiding racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, and students in STEM majors studying abroad.

 Ten Years of Growth: By the Numbers

Since 2008, more than 450 WKU students and alumni have been recognized in national scholarship competitions. WKU students and alumni have earned more than $4.8 million for graduate school, research, language study, public service, and study abroad.

More than 0 students recognized.

More than $0 earned.

WKU Students Recognized by National Scholarships


Monetary Value of National Scholarships


Ten Years of Impact: OSD Alumni

Mario Nguyen - 2012 WKU Graduate and Fulbright U.S. Student Grantee

Mario Nguyen ('12)

Fulbright U.S. Student Grantee

 “It is shocking to have gone from food stamps to Harvard Law.  The support at WKU has made it possible.”   

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Chanel Watkins - 2016 WKU Graduate and Gilman Scholar

Chanel Watkins ('16)

Gilman Scholar

“Studying abroad helped me realize no matter where I am I can always be my complete self.”

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Kendrick Bryan - 2009 WKU Graduate and James Madison Fellow

Kendrick Bryan ('09, '12)

James Madison Fellow

"I applied for the Madison Fellowship because I want to learn more about the Constitution and ways to instruct my students.”

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Tyler Prochazka - 2016 WKU Graduate and Fulbright U.S. Student Grantee

Tyler Prochazka ('16)

Fulbright U.S. Student Grantee

"My Fulbright experience helped me to look past even profound differences to try to understand the fundamental humanity that we all share."

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Sarah Fox - 2015 WKU Graduate and Fulbright U.S. Student Grantee

Sarah Fox ('15)

Fulbright U.S. Student Grantee

“I discovered that cultures of music are just as prevalent and varied as cultures of people. I discovered that connecting with the local community is a crucial part of the learning experience.”

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Lindsey Filiatreau - 2011 WKU Graduate and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar

Lindsey Filiatreau ('11)

Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar

“I gained perspective on the pitfalls that countless foreign aid agencies fall victim to and understand more clearly the importance of creating locally sustainable programs and practices.”

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Ten Years of National Success: A Timeline

July 1, 2008

Office of Scholar Development Established

The Office of Scholar Development was established during the 2008-09 academic year to help WKU students achieve national success and become independent, engaged scholars.


First SMART Scholar

Rachel Bowman was the first WKU student to be awarded a Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation Scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense. The SMART Scholarship recognizes students dedicated to pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math and provides funding for graduate school in those fields.


First Udall Scholars

William “Joey” Coe  and Patrick Stewart were the first WKU students to become Udall Scholars.  The Udall Scholarship honors undergraduates dedicated to public service careers related to the environment or tribal policy.


WKU is Named a Top Fulbright-Producing Institution

During the 2009-2010 academic year, four WKU received Fulbright awards and WKU tied for third place among master’s degree-granting institutions.


WKU Ranks in Top Ten of Fulbright-Producing Institutions

During the 2010-2011 academic year, four WKU students received Fulbright awards, placing WKU among the top 10 master’s degree-granting institutions.


First Princeton in Asia Fellow

Chris Colonna was the first WKU student selected as a Princeton in Asia fellow.  During his fellowship, he taught English at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, Thailand.


OSD Staff Expanded

The Office of Scholar Development added a third full-time position.  OSD's director, coordinator of international scholarships, and coordinator of nationally competitive opportunities work to make WKU students' big dreams attainable.


First Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute Attendee

Sarah Fox was the first WKU student to be selected to attend a Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute.  Fox studied at Newcastle University, explored the culture, heritage and history of the U.K., and developed her academic ability by improving her presentation, research and communication skills.


First Boren Scholar

Kevin Worthy was the first WKU scholar to receive a Boren Scholarship for International Study, which funded his Chinese Flagship Capstone Year in Nanjing. The Boren Scholarship provides funding for critical language study abroad.


First Mitchell Scholarship Finalist

Cory Dodds was the first WKU student to become a finalist for the George Mitchell Scholarship. He went on to complete his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and serves as a staff attorney at Kentucky Legal Aid.


First Finalist for Rhodes, Marshall and Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Sarah Schrader was WKU’s first finalist for the prestigious Rhodes, Marshall, and Gates-Cambridge scholarships. Sarah is currently pursuing her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in Microbiology through the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program. She plans to pursue a research career as a geneticist, collaborating with scientists in China and other Mandarin-speaking areas.


National Scholarships Surpass $1 Million

 During the 2013-14 academic year, WKU students and recent alumni earned more than $1 million from national scholarships and fellowships for the first time.


First NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar

Charles “Chad” Coomer was selected as WKU’s first NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar. Coomer, a Goldwater Scholar and Ogden Foundation Scholar, pursued a master’s degree in infection and immunity at University College London before continuing his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford.


WKU Ranks Third as Top Fulbright-Producing Institution

During the 2014-15 year, six students received Fulbright awards, and WKU ties for third in the nation among master’s degree-granting institutions.


First Princeton in Latin America Fellow

Emma Shoaf was the first WKU student to receive the Princeton in Latin America fellowship to work in the Dominican Republic. She worked for the Mariposa DR Foundation, a non-profit that aims to educate and empower girls in the Dominican Republic to create sustainable solutions to end generational poverty.


WKU Ranks Second as Top Fulbright-Producing Institution

During the 2016-17 year, eight students received Fulbright awards, and WKU tied for second in the nation among master’s degree-granting institutions.


WKU Named Diversity and Inclusion Champion in International Education

WKU was named the Diversity & Inclusion Champion in the 2018 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) Awards. The EDIIE Awards celebrates innovative practices, original research and inclusive excellence with an aim toward preparing diverse and underrepresented students for success through access to global education and cultural exchange opportunities.


First Truman Scholar

Loandria “Andi” Dahmer was selected as a 2018 Harry S. Truman Scholar, and she is the first student from WKU to earn this honor. She will receive $30,000 for graduate school and opportunities for professional development to prepare her for a career in public service leadership.


First Rangel Scholars

Hayden Grace and Deven Richardson are the first WKU students to be selected as Charles B. Rangel Scholars.  Grace and Richardson studied international affairs and politics at Howard University in Washington, D.C. to prepare for careers in international affairs.


WKU is Named Inaugural Top Gilman-Producing Institution

WKU was recognized on the inaugural list of Gilman Scholarship top producers with seventeen Gilman Scholars in 2016-17 and to “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.


First Pickering Fellow

Erick Murrer was the first WKU student to be selected as a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow. They will receive $37,500 annually for a two-year graduate degree in a subject related to the foreign service, paid summer internships in Washington, D.C. and at embassies abroad, and numerous opportunities for mentoring and professional development for a career in the U.S. foreign service. 


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 Last Modified 1/2/19