WKU students recognized a record 84 times in national scholarship competitions in 2018-19
- Author: Office of Scholar Development
- Author: Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
WKU students in a variety of majors and degree programs earned recognition in the nation’s most prestigious scholarship competitions during 2018-19. One hundred seventy-four WKU students and recent graduates applied for nationally competitive scholarships. They earned recognition 84 times, totaling more than $800,000 in funding for graduate school, language study, public service, and study abroad. Of successful applications, 43 percent were submitted by Pell Grant recipients, 27 percent were submitted by first generation college students, and 21 percent were submitted by underrepresented minority students.
The 2018-19 academic year marked the 10th year since the Office of Scholar Development at WKU was created. In the past five years alone, 328 WKU students and alumni who worked with the Office of Scholar Development were recognized in nationally competitive scholarship competitions.
“In the last 10 years, the successes of WKU students and recent graduates in national scholarship competitions have facilitated deeper engagement in research, international study, experiential learning and service,” said Dr. Audra Jennings, director of the Office of Scholar Development. “Our students’ many successes have both reflected WKU’s commitment to engaging students in these areas and created pathways for students to expand upon the foundation they built here on campus with the support of faculty and staff. We are proud of the diverse group of Hilltoppers who have gained national recognition and pursued life-changing opportunities.”
Among this year’s record-breaking numbers are WKU students who were recognized in nationally competitive fellowships for careers in public service.
Deven Richardson was the first WKU student to earn the Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellowship. The Rangel Fellowship awards $37,500 annually for a two-year graduate degree, paid internships in the U.S. Congress and embassies abroad, and opportunities for mentoring and professional development. Richardson will pursue an M.A. in foreign service at Georgetown University after completing a Fulbright research grant in Japan. He was previously recognized by the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for study abroad and the Critical Language Scholarship, which he declined in order to participate in the Rangel Summer Enrichment Program.
Recent alumna Isabella Greene was promoted to recipient of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship after previously being named an alternate in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 competitions. She is pursuing an M.A. in international affairs at the American University School of International Service. Greene was also named a finalist for the Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellowship this year.
Kara Lowry was the first WKU student awarded the Coro Fellowship, which equips emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills, and networks to accelerate positive change in society through effective, active leadership.
Andi Dahmer was named a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes and Gates-Cambridge scholarships for postgraduate study in the United Kingdom, the university’s second finalist in both competitions. She was one of 221 applicants from 82 universities to reach the final stage of the American Rhodes Scholar competition, which included 2,500 total applicants. In 2018, she was named WKU’s first Harry S. Truman Scholar and has previously earned a Critical Language Scholarship and a Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship for study abroad.
WKU students also earned distinguished recognition for undergraduate research. Three WKU students were named Goldwater Scholars, the most prestigious award for undergraduates aiming for careers in scientific research, totaling $37,500. One Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science student was awarded $182,480 through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.
WKU students also continued to earn recognition in the Fulbright U.S. Student program. Six students received Fulbright grants that fund an academic year abroad pursuing research, graduate degrees or English teaching in Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, and Sweden. Two students were selected for Fulbright Summer Institutes in the United Kingdom.
Additionally, WKU students earned $398,500 in scholarships in competitions for undergraduate study abroad. Nine WKU students were awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships for intensive language study in China, Japan, Morocco, and Taiwan, and an additional six students were selected as alternates. Five WKU students earned Boren Scholarships to fund language study in China and Taiwan, and three students were recognized by the Freeman-ASIA Scholarship program for study in Japan and Taiwan. One student was selected as a Fund for Education Abroad Scholar to study in Jordan. A record 12 Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science students were awarded National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Scholarships for critical language study in China, Estonia, Moldova, Morocco, Russia, and Taiwan.
Twenty Hilltoppers earned Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to fund Pell Grant recipients’ internships and study abroad, and an additional three were named alternates. The combined value of more than $66,500 supported students’ academic and internship experiences in Austria, Colombia, Denmark, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom.
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.
Contact: Lindsey Houchin, (270) 745-5043.