WKU set a national scholarship record within the past academic year, with 136 students who applied for prestigious scholarships.
Of those 136 students, 70 were awarded scholarships including the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program scholarship, Boren Award, Critical Language Scholarship and the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.
The Office of Scholar Development works closely with students who apply for these scholarships. Audra Jennings, the director of OSD, explained earning these scholarships is no easy task.
“National scholarships require a great deal of hard work and dedication on the part of applicants, but our dedicated faculty and staff also play an important role in mentoring, encouraging and supporting applicants,” Jennings said.
The accomplishment of these students will be recognized outside of the U.S. as well. Many students were awarded international scholarships under the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, which allows students to exercise their talents abroad.
Fulbright awardee and WKU alumni Jarred Johnson expressed his excitement and gratitude for his upcoming trip to teach English in Germany.
“I am about to be off on a huge adventure, teaching English in Germany for the next year. I wouldn’t have been selected were it not for WKU’s study abroad opportunities, faculty or the Office of Scholar Development,” Johnson said.
While earning these scholarships may be challenging to some, those that have earned them are very excited for what their futures hold. Megan Laffoon, a past Barry Goldwater Scholarship awardee, explained even with her own doubt toward her academics, her experience working with OSD encouraged her to grow both as a student and as a person.
“Applying for scholarships has taught me how to develop personal and professional goals and how to articulate a plan to pursue them. It may be a lot of work, but the payoff makes it worthwhile,” Laffoon said.
Laffoon also expressed concern at the stigma many students face toward the idea of scholarships in general.
“I think often times, students will doubt and stunt themselves by thinking that they aren’t good enough to win and not applying. For both of my scholarships, I doubted myself each step of the way,” Laffoon said.
Some WKU students are currently making use of their scholarship awards. Fulbright Scholar Jessica Brumley is currently in Taiwan. Aside from her personal efforts in the scholarship process, Brumley explained that OSD has been paramount in the overall achievement process.
“I must say that the success of our university in the realm of nationally competitive scholarships is largely due to the dedication of the Office of Scholar Development,” Brumley said.
Jennings also elaborated on why WKU’s students, both graduates and undergraduates, have made such big leaps in the past year compared to previous years.
“The tremendous national scholarship success of WKU students and recent alumni demonstrates that our students are pursuing and realizing big dreams,” Jennings said.
Reporter Jack Johnson can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]