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Confucius Institute at WKU, Gatton Academy partner for trip to China

A group of 12 students from The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky traveled to China during WKU’s spring break to study its changing energy policy, as well as the country’s architectural development.

A group of students from The Gatton Academy traveled to China during spring break 2016.

A group of students from The Gatton Academy traveled to China during spring break 2016. (Photo by Paul F. Wilson)

Funded by the Confucius Institute at WKU (CI at WKU) and The Gatton Academy, the trip granted the students the opportunities to meet Beijing university professors and company officials of energy and architecture fields of study.

The following students and staff members from The Gatton Academy went on the second annual program:

  • Alex Banaszak (Oldham County High School) – junior from Crestwood
  • Taylor Bowman (Montgomery County High School) – senior from Mount Sterling
  • Katherine Brown (duPont Manual High School) – junior from Louisville
  • Parker Graff (home school) – junior from Alexandria
  • Cordelia Jones (Western Hills High School) – junior from Frankfort
  • Aaron Kirtland (South Oldham High School) – junior from Crestwood
  • Benjamin Luckett (Woodford County High School) – junior from Versailles
  • Mason Miller (Harlan High School) – junior from Harlan
  • Austin Murrer (Southwestern High School) – junior from Nancy
  • Logan Parker (Oldham County High School) – junior from La Grange
  • Caleb Stickney (Estill County High School) – junior from Irvine
  • Jessica Williams (Randall K. Cooper High School) – junior from Florence
  • Christopher “Pokey” Bowen – Assistant Director, Counseling Services
  • Lynette Breedlove – Director

“I am a big proponent of alternative energy,” said Cordelia Jones, a Gatton Academy junior from Frankfort. “I would like to understand China’s energy policy more, especially the coal part, because that’s going to be a leading factor in the next few years.”

Gatton Academy junior Cordelia Jones

Gatton Academy junior Cordelia Jones makes a presentation during the trip to China. (Photo by Paul F. Wilson)

Jones considers there to be a link between Kentucky and China in their shared reliance on coal, and thinks it’s important to understand coal policy in the hopes of developing better alternative energy solutions for both areas. She presented her ideas in front of the staff and students at Beijing No. 2 high school.

Hosted by North China Electric Power University, the group visited the local sites in Beijing such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, before taking the high-speed rail to Taiyuan, the capital city of the Shanxi Province. Once there, students from The Gatton Academy visited the high school tied to Shanxi University and presented their research before the Chinese students at the high school. The group’s visit was featured on the Shanxi local news media.

This is the second year The Gatton Academy and the CI at WKU have partnered to send students to China as part of this “Research Intensive” program.  Last year, a total of 15 students participated and were led by Dr. Lynette Breedlove and Derick Strode. That group focused on Chinese architecture, Chinese business/trade and China’s high-speed rail system.

About the Confucius Institute: The CI at WKU is a conduit of all that is China. These partnerships are far reaching that will not only create or advance research opportunities for faculty/staff, but offer research and internship opportunities for WKU students. Anyone interested in partnering with us or interested in creating programs, contact Betty Yu at (270) 745-2836 or Terrill Martin at (270) 745-2530.

About The Gatton Academy:  Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential high school for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to the Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for seven consecutive years and was named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Contact: Terrill Martin, (270) 745-2530

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