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WKU tied for 2nd in 2016-17 list of top Fulbright producers

With 8 student grantees, WKU again among top master’s institutions

WKU is tied for second in the list of top Fulbright-producing master’s degree-granting institutions.

fulbright_studentprod16_500x500WKU had eight Fulbright grantees in 2016-17, making it the only public master’s institution in the top three. WKU tied with Loyola Marymount University while Villanova University ranks first with 11 grantees. This is the fourth time and the third consecutive year WKU has been named a top Fulbright-producing institution as reported today (Feb. 21) in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

WKU was the only Kentucky school to make the master’s degree institution list. The University of Louisville was the only other Kentucky school listed, tied for 11th among research institutions.

WKU’s eight Fulbright grantees, all of whom are also graduates of the Honors College at WKU, are:

  • Brittany Broder of St. Charles, Missouri, a 2016 graduate in physics and Arabic. Her Fulbright funds the first year of a master’s degree program in Advanced Nuclear Waste Management at the École des Mines de Nantes in France, where she has completed projects on nuclear waste containment and nuclear fuel reprocessing.
  • Jessica Brumley of Lawrenceburg, a 2015 graduate in English for secondary teachers and English. Brumley, a participant in the Chinese Language Flagship Program at WKU, is teaching English at Sie Jie Elementary School, Dong Guang Junior High School, and a weekly English camp called English Village in Yilan, Taiwan.
  • Elizabeth Gribbins of Louisville, a 2015 graduate in French and political science. After a year teaching English through the French government-funded Teaching Assistant Program in France, she has been teaching English at a Business and Commerce university in Tangier, Morocco, where she has over 350 first- and second-year students, and volunteering at the Tangier American Legion Institute.
  • Jarred Johnson of Somerset, a 2016 graduate in English and German. Johnson is teaching English at secondary schools in “Germany’s Appalachia” in Saarbrücken, as well as writing for the Saarbrücker Zeitung and volunteering at Lesben- und Schwulenverband Deutschland, an LGBT support and advocacy organization.
  • Bailey Mack of Louisville, a 2015 graduate in international affairs, Spanish and leadership studies. The Chinese Language Flagship Program graduate and member of the Corporate Career Development Program at Alltech is teaching English at a public school in Bera, Malaysia, a rural district east of Kuala Lumpur.
  • Tyler Prochazka of Newton, Kansas, a 2016 graduate in international affairs, Asian religions & cultures and economics. Prochazka is a graduate of the Chinese Language Flagship Program and is conducting a trial of universal basic income as part of his Fulbright-funded master’s degree program in Asia-Pacific Studies at National Chengchi University in Taiwan.
  • Megan Skaggs of Brownsville, a 2016 graduate in English and international affairs. In addition to helping prepare Guatemalan secondary students to use English in professional settings, Skaggs is working with a local financial cooperative to research nongovernmental organizations in and around Esquipulas, Guatemala.
  • Ryan Vennell of Chatham, Illinois, a 2014 graduate in broadcasting. Vennell is studying for a master’s degree in filmmaking at Royal Holloway, University of London. After several years working in live sports production at WKU and major television networks, he is using this opportunity to transition to a career producing and directing documentaries.

“The achievements of our students have once again placed WKU among the elite private institutions,” WKU President Gary Ransdell said. “WKU’s Fulbright success is a great testament to the ability of our students and what they can accomplish with the mentoring of our faculty. The international dimension of the Fulbright awards is also a strong indication of WKU’s international reach.”

Melinda Grimsley-Smith, WKU’s Fulbright Program Advisor, said, “We are of course thrilled to see WKU students win Fulbright grants, but as they send updates during their time abroad, we really begin to understand the transformative impact of a Fulbright experience. While they’re earning degrees, doing important research and creative work, and contributing to students’ English language proficiency abroad, they’re explaining American culture and society to people in their host communities. And as they learn about their host culture, they’re deepening their own understanding of American culture and society.”

The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program, is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. The largest international exchange program in the United States, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program awarded about 1,800 grants annually to fund an academic year of study, research, or English teaching in one of about 140 countries worldwide last year. In each of the past two years, more than 10,000 graduating seniors and recent graduates applied nationwide. Grantees are selected on the basis of academic merit, leadership potential, and demonstrated ability to serve as cultural ambassadors for the United States while abroad.

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 national or international scholarships.

Contact: Melinda Grimsley-Smith, (270) 745-5043

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