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Corbin senior first WKU student to receive Boren Scholarship

WKU senior Kevin Worthy of Corbin has become the first WKU student to receive a Boren Scholarship for International Study.

Kevin Worthy

The scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program and provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad. Worthy will use the scholarship to spend a year studying Chinese language, political science and international affairs, and completing an internship in Nanjing, China.

Worthy, the son of David and Pamela Worthy, is a member of WKU’s Chinese Flagship Program and is a double major in International Affairs and Asian Religions and Cultures. The Boren Scholarship will fund his Capstone Year in Nanjing.

“During my Capstone Year in China, I hope to accomplish much more than just studying Chinese at Nanjing University,” Worthy said. “In addition to a semester of direct enrollment at the university, I will also get involved in a service project relating to my interest in promoting humanitarian aid for people in China. I will also complete a six-month professional internship with a Chinese company.”

Worthy describes winning a major national scholarship to study in China for a year as the culmination of his experience at WKU.

“Since getting involved in the WKU Honors College and then the WKU Chinese Flagship, my experience as an international traveler has been continuous. WKU has provided me with resources and instilled in me the passion to travel abroad and pursue international cultural awareness,” Worthy said.

“I am very happy for and proud of Kevin receiving the scholarship,” said Dr. Jianjun He of WKU’s Chinese Flagship Program. “He is a hard-working student and highly motivated. He is also very sensitive to cultural issues and shows respect to different cultures and ideas.”

The core of the Boren Scholarship application is a two-part statement of purpose that requires applicants to explain the significance of their proposed study abroad experience to U.S. national security, broadly defined, as well as explain how their program of study will help them achieve their academic and career goals. Developing these essays takes several weeks of planning, drafting and revising. Worthy worked with Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith of the Office of Scholar Development throughout the application process.

“The Boren application was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. These were not simple essay questions; they required me to dig deep and show how passionate I am about what I am doing and plan to do in China,” Worthy said. “The amount of detail, planning and long hours of research it required, although difficult, gave me the ability to understand applications better, and refined my writing and research skills.”

As a Boren Scholar, Worthy will take advantage of special hiring processes reserved for Scholars, as well as staff dedicated to assisting them to find employment with a Federal employer. Following graduation, Worthy will pursue a position with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) addressing humanitarian issues in China.

About the Chinese Flagship Program: WKU’s federally funded Chinese Flagship Pilot Program is actively redefining the paradigm in language education.  The program is designed to bring talented students who start with no knowledge of Chinese up to the Superior level (ACTFL scale) of proficiency by the time they graduate from college by integrating Chinese language instruction at every stage of the undergraduate educational path and incorporating a capstone year at Nanjing University and working in a professional internship.  Contact: Melinda Edgerton, (270) 745-5043.

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 the Boren Scholarship or other similar opportunities.

Contact: Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith, (270) 745-5043.

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