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Gatton student receives national scholarship to study in Morocco

A student at the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at WKU has received a national scholarship to study in Morocco this summer.

Paul Fleischmann

Paul Fleischmann of Crestwood has received the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship. The NSLI-Y, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offers scholarships to high-achieving high school students to learn critical languages in overseas immersion programs. Scholarships include all program fees, travel to and from the program site, housing and activity fees for six weeks during the summer.

Fleischmann, the son of Maria and Randall Fleischmann, is a second-year student at the Gatton Academy. He has studied Arabic for three semesters with Khaldoun Almousily, instructor of Arabic in WKU’s Department of Modern Languages. Through the NSLI-Y award, he expects to gain an additional year’s worth of language proficiency this summer.

“I am so grateful to have been awarded this scholarship,” he said. “It is a unique opportunity, and will give me both knowledge and experience to help with my future.”

Fleischmann aspires to become a research scientist in chemistry and to use his Arabic skills to study environmental issues concerning fossil fuels in a region that has some of the largest oil reserves in the world.

“Paul is a bright student and overall genuine individual,” Almousily said. “The NSLI-Y scholarship will assist him in achieving his ambitious professional goals and learning the Arabic language and culture. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for him.”

Fleischmann spent several weeks working on his application for the NSLI-Y scholarship with Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith, Coordinator of International Scholarships in the Office of Scholar Development.

“Many meetings to revise my essays with Dr. Grimsley-Smith both strengthened my application and made the process a great experience,” Fleischmann said.

“It is a real pleasure to work with students like Paul. There’s a good amount of ambition hiding under his laid-back exterior,” Dr. Grimsley-Smith said. “He brings all of his academic and personal interests together in a compelling way, and clearly conveys a strong sense of purpose in his writing. In short, he demonstrates the recipe for success in competitions like NSLI-Y.”

This will be the second international experience for Fleischmann. Over the 2012 winter term, he traveled to Costa Rica to conduct research at the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve with WKU Biology Professor Keith Philips, as well as another Gatton Academy student and a Gatton Academy alumnus to investigate the Gunnera-Nostoc Symbiosis. Students identified populations of Gunnera on the reserve, harvested samples and dissected portions to determine if bacterial symbionts were present. He has also been involved with research under the direction of Dr. Ouida Meier of the Department of Biology investigating local wastewater as a source for cave and karst and groundwater pollution.

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 National Security Language Institute for Youth or other similar opportunities. Contact: Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith, (270) 745-5043.

About the Gatton Academy: The Gatton Academy offers a residential program for bright, highly motivated Kentucky high school students who have demonstrated interest in pursuing advanced careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Approximately 60 students each year are admitted to the program through a competitive selection process. Instead of spending their junior and senior years in traditional high schools, students enroll in the Gatton Academy and live in a uniquely dedicated residence hall. The goals of the Gatton Academy are to enable Kentucky’s exceptional young scientists and mathematicians to learn in an environment that offers advanced educational opportunities and to prepare them for leadership roles in Kentucky.  At the end of two years, Gatton Academy students earn at least 60 college credit hours in addition to completing high school. Contact: Corey Alderdice, (270) 745-6565.

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

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