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3 WKU students receive Gilman International Scholarships

Three WKU students have been awarded funding from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program to study abroad.

Rebecca Akers-Kuczek, Sara Newport and Sarah Nikolai will use the funding to offset expenses while studying abroad during the spring 2012 semester.

Akers-Kuczek, a Glasgow senior majoring in graphic design, and Newport, an Oakland senior majoring in political science and graphic design, have each been awarded $4,500 to attend WKU’s exchange partner, Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata, Japan. Both will be studying Japanese brush painting, art history and language.

“The Gilman Scholarship truly made it possible for me to go abroad at all,” Akers-Kuczek said.

Newport added: “I’ve never left the South, let alone the country. I’m taking a leap. Gilman is giving me the opportunity to learn, grow and experience the world.”

Nikolai, a sophomore from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., majoring in graphic design and advertising, has been awarded $4,000 to study at the renowned Lorenzo de’ Medici school in Florence, Italy. She will study Italian Renaissance art history and painting, and will also have the opportunity to participate in the “Art in the Streets” competition, which unites Lorenzo de’ Medici students with local artisans to present art to the community.

“As a graphic design major, studying art in Italy and learning more about the techniques and aesthetics of old Renaissance masters is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Nikolai said. “The Gilman scholarship will help me to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity.”

Thomas Millington, director of Study Abroad and Global Learning at WKU, said having three WKU students receive Gilman scholarships “is a testament to their strong academic background and their great interest in immersing themselves in another culture. I know they will represent WKU well abroad.”

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards of up to $5,000 for study abroad to undergraduates receiving Pell grants. The program is intended to increase diversity in study abroad by funding the travel of underrepresented groups including ethnic minorities; students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and students with disabilities, and by funding travel to underrepresented countries, especially those outside western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The strongest applications are written by students who will earn credit applicable to their major field of study while abroad.

Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith at the Office of Scholar Development is available to help all WKU students compose competitive applications for the Gilman and other scholarships for study abroad.

Contact: Tom Millington, (270) 745-2571.

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