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Campus news: Financial program expands; NSE offers opportunities; geoscience graduate promoted

Here are some news items from several WKU departments and programs.

Finance: Partnership helps Financial Success Initiative expand

The WKU Financial Success Initiative (FSI) has partnered with Service One Credit Union (SOCU) to expand the reach of its financial counseling program. A SOCU-sponsored internship will focus on peer-to-peer counseling. “Service One is proud to partner with WKU to serve their students, faculty and staff,” said Garth Griese, SOCU President/CEO. “Sponsoring the WKU Financial Success Initiative is just one of Service One’s financial education initiatives in the community.”

The SOCU internship will enable a qualified Financial Planning student to provide free financial success counseling to WKU students, faculty or staff. These individualized services will also be extended to the general public.  Counseling program topics include how to set up a working budget, how to save on a limited income, and how to manage student loans.

Counseling sessions will be supervised by Andrew Head, a Certified Financial Planner and Director of WKU’s Financial Planning Program. “I can’t stress enough what an important step for the program this is. Demand for the financial counseling services is greater than even we had anticipated and we couldn’t be doing this without the generosity of Service One Credit Union,” said Head.

Bardstown senior Erika Klosterman has been selected as the 2013 Financial Success Counselor. Klosterman is Vice President of Chapter Operations for Delta Sigma Pi (Zeta Theta Chapter) and Vice President of WKU’s Financial Planning Association.

Read more about the WKU Financial Success Initiative

For information on the WKU FSI Counseling Program, call (270) 745-3425, email financialsuccess@wku.edu or follow on social media at www.facebook.com/WKUCFS.

Contact: Mary Carrell, (270) 796-8500, ext. 3007

Study Away: National Student Exchange offers more academic opportunities

WKU students have more academic opportunities than ever through National Student Exchange (NSE), a not-for-profit education consortium, providing affordable and practical opportunities for students to study and live in a new location. Seven WKU students participated in the program during this academic year.

History major Michael Wilbanks is studying at the University of Idaho. Kori Shannon, a political science major, is studying at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. Both students exchanged for a full academic year.

In the fall of 2012, biology majors Whitney Marlin and Westley Perry studied at the University of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Biology major Riya Patel studied the New College in Florida. Biology major Brooke Guess and finance major Tyler Padgett studied at the University of Montana.

Padgett described his semester studying in Montana as the time of his life, adding that it introduced him to new experiences and people. “I would have never imagined myself doing some of the things I participated in while in the NSE program,” he said. “The only regret I have is only studying for a single semester.”

Through NSE, students can exchange for a single semester or an academic year at nearly 200 campuses throughout the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Exchange opportunities are available for WKU students through the Study Away office, and WKU also plans to host incoming NSE students from other member institutions.

Architectural science major Chase Whicker and English major Brady Thompson will study at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedres this fall, and architectural science major Jennifer Gaiko will study at Oklahoma State University this spring. WKU will host two incoming NSE students — Chris Gorman from the University of Wyoming and Jesse Rhees from New Mexico State University — for an entire academic year.

“Being an exchange student means far more than simply taking classes at another school,” said WKU Study Away Director Jerry Barnaby. “It’s an opportunity for students to live in a different place and immerse themselves in a new and unique culture.”

Applications for fall 2013 and spring 2014 are due by April 30.  For information, including application details, eligibility, information on NSE tuition plans and financial aid opportunities, call (270) 745-2231 or visit www.wku.edu/studyaway/nse.

Contact: Jerry Barnaby, (270) 745-2231.

Geography & Geology: Geoscience graduate appointed to West Point leadership position

LTC Kenny McDonald

LTC Kenny McDonald

LTC Kenny McDonald, who is serving at the U.S. Military Academy as an associate professor and Engineering Management Program Director in the Department of Systems Engineering, has been appointed Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Center for Nation Reconstruction and Capacity Development at West Point. McDonald received his master’s degree in geoscience (Geomorphology and Planning) from WKU in 1995, completing a thesis on “The Effects of Military Maneuvers on Soil Structure Breakdown and Wind Erosion at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California” (Advisor: Dr. Chris Groves). He earned his Ph.D. in Geological Engineering from the Missouri School of Mines.

McDonald is a licensed Professional Engineering (PE) as well as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Planner (AICP) and belongs to several professional organizations including the American Planning Association (APA), the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME). In 2001, he was recognized as the TRADOC Engineer of the Year. The following year he was named the NSPE Federal Engineer of the Year. Additionally, under his direction, the Engineering Management program at West Point has been the recipient of the ASEM Founders Award for Best Engineering Management Program (2009-10).  He has also authored in the areas of engineering education, engineering management, and environmental impact.

The mission for the Center for Nation Reconstruction and Capacity Development is to take an interdisciplinary and systems approach in facilitating and focusing research, professional practice, training, and information dissemination in the planning, execution, and assessment of efforts to construct infrastructure, policies, and competencies mainly in support of building partner capacity for communities and nations primarily in developing countries. The Center has a strong focus on professional practice in support of developing current and future Army leaders through its creation of cultural immersion and research opportunities for both cadets and faculty.

According to Dr. David Keeling, Department Head of Geography and Geology, “during his time at WKU in the early 1990s, Kenny stood out as a natural leader, a successful motivator of friends and colleagues, and an individual who could get things done. The department has followed his career with pride over the past two decades and stays in touch with Kenny and his family as he continues to provide strong leadership at West Point.”

Contact: David Keeling, (270) 745-4555

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