WKU’s Study Away program is offering students studying abroad a new scholarship opportunity that involves working on a project outside their coursework.
Jerry Barnaby, program director for Study Away, said Study Away has offered money for faculty members taking students on trips in the past and are expanding the help to students involved in projects.
“You have to make the effort to do more than just what’s in the class, to do some sort of project,” Barnaby said.
Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said Study Away got involved with study abroad trips because they were already doing similar work for their own department.
“Faculty were typically having to spend a lot of time on non-academic issues,” Emslie said. “And it’s not that they couldn’t do it — it’s just that’s not what they’re best qualified to do.”
Barnaby said the project proposals students have submitted for the scholarships can range greatly.
“It’s really open-ended as to what people want to propose,” Barnaby said.
An example would be a student who could use interviewing skills to work on a project.
“You might interview a family that you meet and take pictures of them and then put it together in some sort of piece that could be posted on the Web or might be used in some sort of exhibition,” Barnaby said.
Barnaby said a project could also be done in-country, with students taking materials with them and distributing them while they are on their trip.
The tentative amount a student could get to work on a project is $150 to $500, depending on a project and the impact it would have, Barnaby said. A group of staff members would make the decisions. The current total amount allotted for the scholarships is $50,000.
Barnaby said doing a project like this shows the experience a student has beyond the classroom and that the trip is more about benefitting the student than visiting a foreign location.
Beth Laves, associate vice president for Extended Learning & Outreach, said the scholarship has been in the works for a while. Laves said the projects students work on will benefit the university.
Barnaby said this is a unique way for students to earn a scholarship.
“Everyone’s always looking for money for Study Abroad programs, and so it’s a way to differentiate yourself from other people,” Barnaby said.
Applications for winter term and spring break are due Friday at 4 p.m.