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WKU graduate student to use Rotary Scholarship to study water issues

WKU graduate student Leslie Ford will use a $40,000 Rotary Foundation Global Scholarship to pursue a second master’s degree in the Netherlands.

WKU graduate student Leslie Ford has received a Rotary Foundation Global Scholarship.

WKU graduate student Leslie Ford has received a Rotary Foundation Global Scholarship.

Ford, a native of Centertown in Ohio County, will add to her international experiences by studying Water Services Management at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, Netherlands. She previously studied water issues in India and Tanzania.

“This experience and my background growing up on a farm led me to pursue my Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Environmental Health,” Ford said. “My experience in Tanzania as a master’s student further solidified my desire to address water and sanitation issues in underrepresented areas of the world.”

Ford, a Graduate Assistant for WKU Study Abroad and Global Learning and a Health Sciences and Honors College at WKU alum, is the daughter of James R. and Pam W. Ford of Centertown and Helen A. Ford of Hartford. She will receive her master’s in May and then begin working on her second master’s degree.

In addition to making this degree a financial possibility, Ford said the Rotary scholarship “provides a network of like-minded professionals who are committed to addressing the world’s water needs. Together we can work to give back to our home communities, communities like those in India and Tanzania that hosted me, and areas of the world that have the most pressing water needs.”

While much of her focus has been abroad, Ford plans to bring her experiences back to Kentucky and contribute to creating sustainable water systems and addressing water needs.

“As an American it is easy to assume that access to clean water and sanitation is a right and is guaranteed, but as we have seen in Flint, Michigan, that is not always the case,” she said. “Behind every drop of clean water is a water and sanitation professional who ensures that water is safe.”

Ford said WKU’s Office of Scholar Development and the Bowling Green Rotary Club were key to her successful application.

For more than a year, Ford worked with Cheryl Kirby-Stokes, OSD’s Coordinator of Nationally Competitive Opportunities, to prepare the application and scholarship essays and best incorporate her experiences. When she was selected for an interview, Kirby-Stokes set up a mock interview with local Rotarians to help her prepare.

“The mock interview gave me the confidence I needed to be successful during the actual scholarship interview,” she said.

About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping WKU students 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 nationally competitive scholarships.

Contact: Cheryl Kirby-Stokes, (270) 745-4191

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