Four students at WKU have been recognized by the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program.
Mackenzie Donoghue from Seoul, South Korea; Alex Hezik from Campbellsville; Kelly Tursic from Union; and Jody Dahmer from Fisherville received scholarships.
Mackenzie Donoghue, a second-year student majoring in Chinese and Asian Religions and Cultures, is the daughter of Jamie and Andrea Donoghue. She previously participated in the intensive language program Princeton in Beijing in Summer 2014 as well as a 2013-14 winter-term program in Xi’an. She is an officer in the Chinese Culture Club and a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Campus center.
Alexandra Marie Hezik, a third-year student majoring in sustainable agriculture, is the daughter of Bernard and Judy Hezik. She has traveled to Ecuador, China and the British Virgin Islands and participated in the Semester at Sea program that visited Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the United Kingdom.
Hezik is a Project Grow Fellow, student representative on the WKU Climate Action Plan Committee, a volunteer at the Community Farmers Market and a member of the Big Red Marching Band and Pep Band. Her plans include earning a master’s degree in agroecology or sustainable agriculture and working in international food security.
Kelly Tursic is a second-year student majoring in international affairs, Asian religions and cultures and Spanish. She is the daughter of Richard and Katherine Tursic.
Tursic will spend the summer in the Chinese CLS program in Suzhou, China. She studied Spanish in Granada, Spain, in the winter of 2014 through Sol Education Abroad program and participated in the Princeton in Beijing program in the summer of 2014.
She is a member of Bridges International and vice president of the Chinese Culture Club and plans to begin her Honors thesis and prepare for her Chinese Flagship capstone year in China.
Jody Dahmer, a second-year political science and international business major, is the son of Steve Dahmer and Ann Coffey. His interests include political science, business and volunteer work and he studied in Ecuador in the spring of 2013 and 2014.
Dahmer is president of WKU College Youth in Government, a senator in the Student Government Association, a member of the Student Coalition of Renter’s Rights, Golden Key Honor Society and National Society for Collegiate Scholars, and community service chair for Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
Each student worked closely with the Office of Scholar Development to prepare their applications for this competitive award. The scholarship includes round-trip airfare, living expenses and tuition for programs throughout the world in which students intensively study a critical-need foreign language and experience the culture first-hand.
“We had another excellent cohort of students applying this year for language institutes in Chinese and Arabic, which is to be expected given WKU’s strong course offerings in those languages, but also Russian and Korean,” said Melinda Grimsley Smith, OSD’s Coordinator for International Scholarships. “I am always encouraged by applicants’ willingness to reach out for opportunities and impressed by their determination to put themselves forward in competition with the best and brightest across the nation. They’ve learned something many of us don’t really internalize until we get much older—that success comes to those who don’t count themselves out.”
Melinda Edgerton, Assistant Director of WKU’s Chinese Flagship Program, said she was pleased about the national recognition for the Flagship students.
“The Critical Language Scholarship has proven to be a valuable opportunity of Chinese Flagship students to not only advance their proficiency through immersion, but to also gain cultural competencies while in China that will serve them well in their future careers,” she said.
The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides study opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.
Because the CLS is sponsored by the State Department and specifically targets a very small number of strategic languages and specially chosen overseas locations, students know that it is a great opportunity to explore the languages and areas the government places the highest value on.
About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping students on all WKU campuses and 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 Critical Language Scholarship program or other similar opportunities. Contact: (270) 745-5043.
About the Chinese Flagship Program: WKU’s federally funded Chinese Flagship Pilot Program is actively redefining the paradigm in language education. The program is designed to bring talented students who start with no knowledge of Chinese up to the Superior level (ACTFL scale) of proficiency by the time they graduate from college by integrating Chinese language instruction at every stage of the undergraduate educational path and incorporating a capstone year at Nanjing University and working in a professional internship. Contact: (270) 745-5043.
About the Honors College at WKU: WKU is home to the only Honors College in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Created in 2007, the Honors College at WKU provides an intimate, highly selective learning environment where college-age gifted and high-achieving students can develop the skills to prepare them for success in the nation’s top academic and career opportunities. Contact: (270) 745-2081.
Contact: Scholar Development, (270) 745-5043