For the second straight year, a WKU student has been selected as a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, one of the most prestigious opportunities for undergraduates who plan to pursue a career in public service.
Sarah Schrader, a rising senior from Bowling Green and graduate of the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, was selected as a finalist while completing her Capstone Year in China through the Chinese Flagship Program. The scholarship, which is open to juniors, recognizes service and leadership and provides funding for graduate education.
A biology and chemistry major, Schrader plans to earn an MD/PhD and engage in internationally collaborative biomedical research. As an undergraduate at WKU, Schrader has traveled to China four times and one time to South Korea, totaling more than 19 months abroad.
“These experiences, which have included several language study programs, a home stay, a research internship and an English teaching fellowship, have given me the chance to immerse myself in Chinese and Korean cultures while learning about how people live, work and think on the other side of the world,” she said. “In terms of research, I have absorbed new ideas, techniques and problem-solving approaches from observing and working with Chinese colleagues in the lab where I interned in the spring. My experiences abroad have additionally inspired me to incorporate international collaboration with Chinese and Korean scientists into my future research endeavors.”
Schrader has applied for many nationally competitive scholarships while at WKU and reflects positively on all of these experiences.
“While winning a nationally competitive scholarship can bring enormous self-confidence and almost always comes with significant monetary perks, the application process itself can be just as beneficial no matter the outcome,” she said. “For one thing, applying for nationally competitive scholarships is an excellent way for students to explore their interests and career goals. Figuring out how to clearly and concisely communicate your experiences and goals in writing for a scholarship application compels you to first define these goals for yourself; in turn, having a clear idea of what you want to do helps you to better plan your educational path and discover additional opportunities to help you achieve your goals.”
Dr. Audra Jennings, director of the Office of Scholar Development, works with students who are applying for the Truman Scholarship and other service- or science-based awards.
“It has been a privilege to work with Sarah,” Dr. Jennings said. “She has a stellar academic and research record, a strong history of service and leadership, a series of engaged international experiences, and a clear sense of purpose.”
Schrader has already begun planning for the next round of national scholarship applications.
“OSD advisors are always more than happy to help you complete each of your scholarship applications. They know what scholarship committees are looking for and will answer questions, proofread essays, provide constructive comments, and arrange mock interviews until your application is primed for competition. All for free, too. Whenever I tell friends from other universities about OSD, they always look at me first in disbelief, then in envy.”
About the Office of Scholar Development: The OSD works with students and their mentors to build research and creative agendas, helps students identify appropriate national and international scholarship opportunities, and provides intensive writing support throughout the application process. OSD staff welcome the opportunity to speak with students about the Truman Scholarship and other similar programs.
Contact: Audra Jennings, (270) 745-5043.