KIIS Study Abroad, a non-profit study abroad consortium housed at WKU, has provided international educational experiences for students, faculty and professionals since 1975. In celebration of sending its 10,000th student abroad in summer 2013, KIIS publicized a drawing to award one lucky participant a scholarship to cover the participant’s KIIS program fee.
On April 13, KIIS Study Abroad hosted its annual summer study abroad orientation in WKU’s Van Meter Hall. Nearly 500 students participating in 22 summer programs assembled to meet with 74 faculty members to learn about their specific program sites in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Participants represented colleges and universities in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana and West Virginia. Parents and other family members also attended.
During his plenary address, Dr. Chris Bierwirth, executive director of KIIS, informed the assembled students that, after sending thousands of students abroad over the last 38 years, one of them would be the 10,000th student to participate in a KIIS Study Abroad program. KIIS student worker Chrissy Peters then selected a name from a jar containing the names of all the students attending the orientation, and Dr. Bierwirth announced that Justin Martin was the winner of the 10,000th student scholarship.
Shocked and speechless, Martin approached the stage at Van Meter where he was presented a check for $3,925. Martin, a junior French major at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., is enrolled in the KIIS Paris II summer program set to begin on June 30.
Martin said winning the scholarship feels “surreal” and that “no one believed me at home.” He said his parents, Hank and Sue Martin, thought he was playing a practical joke on them when he called to tell them that he had won the scholarship. Ironically, Martin almost did not make it to the KIIS orientation. On the five-hour drive from Muncie to Bowling Green, he and three other BSU students ran out of gas and had to call AAA, and they arrived just minutes before the orientation began.
The KIIS Paris II program will be Martin’s first time traveling overseas. While studying in Paris, he is planning to use part of his scholarship money to explore France, Italy, England and surrounding countries on the weekends. His parents and younger brother also may join him in Europe for a week after the program’s conclusion. Martin said this experience has been “really awesome.” He feels “extreme gratitude toward KIIS” and plans to “make the trip as good as it can be.”
In addition to Martin’s $3,925 scholarship, KIIS will award nearly $50,000 in scholarships in 2013 ($15,000 in merit and need-based summer and semester scholarships and $35,000 in early application scholarships for all motivated students).
Contact: Rebekah Golla, (270) 745-2187.