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WKU listed among top producers of Fulbright award winners

WKU has been listed as one of the top-producing institutions of students winning Fulbright awards.

The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, recently announced the complete list of colleges and universities that produced the most 2010-2011 U.S. Fulbright Students.  The success of the top-producing institutions is highlighted in the Oct. 25 online edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Four WKU students won Fulbright awards for 2010-2011, putting WKU among the top 10 master’s degree granting institutions, a group that includes such schools as University of Portland, Villanova University and University of Alaska at Anchorage.

WKU President Gary Ransdell said Fulbright awards are just one measure of the caliber of students at WKU. “When you add the number of students who have received other nationally-competitive scholarships and awards, it is great indication of the value of a WKU experience,” he said. “It also indicates the quality of our faculty and the support these students receive from our Office of Scholar Development.”

The Fulbright competition is administered by the Office of Scholar Development (OSD) through Jeanne Sokolowski, International Scholarships Coordinator.  The OSD was formed in 2008 and is under the direction of Amy Eckhardt, who came to the position with 10 years of experience working with students on prestigious national scholarship competitions.

OSD has worked closely with students receiving other international scholarships, including the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, which provides $27,000 for one academic year of study abroad. WKU students have won Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships two consecutive years.

WKU students have also applied for and won five Critical Language Scholarships in the past five years. These prestigious awards cover all costs for an intensive, in-country summer language program in thirteen critical needs foreign languages.

Dr. Audra Jennings of the Office of Scholar Development is the advisor for domestic scholarships, such the Udall, Goldwater and Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarships. The number of WKU students receiving these scholarships has also increased dramatically over the past few years.

Great success has occurred with the federal commemorative scholarships, the Goldwater and Udall scholarships. There have been five Goldwater Scholarship winners at WKU, and three Udall Scholarships awarded in the past two years.

WKU has had more students recognized for the federal commemorative scholarships than any other school, public or private, in Kentucky.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.  Dr. Kevin Williams is the campus representative for the Goldwater competition.

Udall Scholars are chosen on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, health care or tribal public policy, leadership potential, and academic achievement.

Three WKU students have won SMART scholarships in as many years. The Department of Defense SMART scholarships fund tuition and provide a living stipend, books, health insurance reimbursement, and paid summer internships for recipients.

About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping students on all campuses and in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. Students interested in investigating undergraduate scholarships such as the National Department of Defense SMART scholarships, or postgraduate funding opportunities, including the Fulbright or Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships, should call to schedule an appointment with the Office of Scholar Development at (270) 745-5043.

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