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WKU achieves record success in national scholarships

Of all-time high 136 students and recent graduates who applied, 70 earned recognition and received more than $465,000 in 2015-16

WKU students and recent graduates achieved record success in multiple national scholarship competitions in the 2015-16 academic year. Of the all-time high 136 students and alumni who applied, 70 earned recognition, winning more than $465,000 in funding. (More: List of 2015-2016 WKU Nationally Competitive Scholarship Winners)

“We are very proud of each student who invested so much time and energy and submitted one or more national scholarship applications this year. WKU students and alumni who competed for these awards benefited from the support of numerous dedicated faculty and staff members and the university’s commitment to internationalization, undergraduate research, and community engagement,” said Dr. Audra Jennings, Director of the Office of Scholar Development. “OSD asks our students to dream big, and our students are not only dreaming big but also realizing those dreams.”

WKU President Gary A. Ransdell said the success is an indication of the potential of WKU’s students and the support they receive from faculty and staff to reach that potential.

“Our students successfully compete with the best across the country,” Dr. Ransdell said. “This success also encourages more of our students to apply for these scholarships, and I fully expect the number of grantees to continue to rise.”

WKU students performed particularly well in competition for the nation’s most prestigious international scholarships this year. Grantees will be traveling to 21 countries spanning four continents.

Eight graduating seniors and recent graduates were selected as Fulbright grantees, and a further five designated as alternates. Grantees will begin their research, study, and English teaching assignments in France, Germany, Guatemala, Malaysia, Morocco, Taiwan and the United Kingdom between September 2016 and February 2017.

All five WKU students who applied for Boren Scholarships were selected for funding of an academic year of study in China and Jordan. The $20,000 scholarships are provided through the Department of Defense National Security Education Program. An additional five students won Department of State-funded Critical Language Scholarships for summer intensive language study, also in China and Jordan. A record-tying four Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science students earned National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarships to study language and culture in Moldova, Morocco and China this summer.

Seventeen students earned Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to fund study abroad. The combined value of $63,000 allows these students to pursue academic, internship and student teaching experiences in Austria, Costa Rica, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Tanzania.

For the second year in a row, WKU had two Truman Scholarship nominees selected as finalists. The Truman Scholarship, which awards $30,000 for graduate school, is the nation’s highest honor for undergraduates dedicated to careers in public service.

Two of WKU’s four nominees for the Goldwater Scholarship were recognized as honorable mentions this year. The Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship for undergraduates aiming for careers in scientific research.

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: Audra Jennings, (270) 745-5043


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