Two WKU students have been selected to participate in Fulbright Summer Institutes in the United Kingdom. Hayden Grace and Madeline Marita are the fifth and sixth WKU students to be selected for the prestigious nationally-competitive program since 2012. Both are students in the Mahurin Honors College.

Grace is a second-year mathematical economics major from Hopkinsville. He is the son of April Grace and Greg Cable and is one of four American students who will study issues in climate change at the Fulbright Commission-University of Exeter Summer Institute. While focusing on climate change, Grace will take one of a variety of courses offered during the university’s summer session.

“I’m still very much shocked to have been awarded this honor, but incredibly grateful,” Grace said. “I really hope that I’m not only able to learn more about what I’ll be studying, but about the United Kingdom as well. I’m also confident that this experience will help me broaden my academic horizons beyond what I could’ve ever imagined even after I’ve returned to the States.”

Grace plans to pursue a PhD in economics, which he calls a “logical, yet unintuitive” way of understanding the world. His goal is to develop analytical skills and awareness among university students and others of the long-term consequences of voting outcomes and policy decisions.

Marita is a second-year communication disorders major from Florence. She is the daughter of Jackie and Kevin Marita and is one of three American students selected by the US-UK Fulbright Commission to study theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

While studying acting and Shakespearean texts, she will also attend workshops focusing on combat and sword play, movement, dance and design. She and other students will also watch performances at Shakespeare’s Globe and take part in a question-and-answer session with Globe actors. The course seeks to demonstrate the historical and current value of Shakespeare’s plays through a practical examination of text and language, performance space, the materials of theatre practice, and the unique relationship between actors and audience at the Globe.

“I feel so incredibly blessed to have received this opportunity,” Marita said. “‘All the world’s a stage,’ and this summer, I get to make the world my stage as I travel to England to study abroad for the first time. I have been obsessed with Shakespeare’s work since middle school and I really cannot imagine a more amazing opportunity than getting to study at Shakespeare’s Globe. I hope to implement what I learn at the Globe in my future career as a Speech-Language Pathologist, using the iambic pentameter and natural rhythm of Shakespearean texts to help improve my clients’ speech.”

Both students worked with the Office of Scholar Development in preparing their applications.

The US-UK Fulbright Commission is the only bi-lateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards and summer programs for study or research in any field at any accredited U.S. or UK university. The Commission is part of the Fulbright program conceived by Senator J. William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange. Award recipients and summer program participants will be the future leaders for tomorrow and support the “special relationship” between the US and UK.

Penny Egan CBE, Executive Director, US-UK Fulbright Commission, said, “In the 70th year of the Special Relationship, we can celebrate American students seeking study abroad opportunities through our Summer Institute program. This is a unique opportunity to get a taste of British higher education while interacting with students from across the globe. As part of a diverse and high-achieving cohort, these students will gain immensely from the experience.”

The Commission selects participants through a rigorous application and interview process. In making these awards the Commission looks not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Programme and a plan to give back to the recipient’s home country upon returning.

Fulbright Summer Institutes cover all participant costs. In addition, Fulbright summer participants receive a distinctive support and cultural education programme including visa processing, a comprehensive pre-departure orientation, enrichment opportunities in country, a re-entry session and opportunity to join alumni networks.

  • 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 Melinda Grimsley-Smith at (270) 745-5043.
  • About the Mahurin Honors College at WKU: WKU is home to the first Honors College in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Created in 2007, the Mahurin Honors College at WKU provides an intimate, highly selective learning environment where college-age gifted and high-achieving students can develop the skills to prepare them for success in the nation’s top academic and career opportunities. Contact: (270) 745-2081.
  • About the US-UK Fulbright Commission: The US-UK Fulbright Commission was created by treaty on Sept. 22, 1948. The Fulbright Programme aims to foster mutual cultural understanding through educational exchange between the US and the UK. This it achieves through its Awards programme for US and UK citizens and through its EducationUSA Advisory Service. The Fulbright Commission offers grants at postgraduate and postdoctoral level for study in any discipline and at any accredited institution in the US and UK, as well as a number of special exchanges programmes for shorter projects or for younger scholars. It is funded by a range of partners including leading US and UK universities, charities and both governments. For more information visit
  • About the Summer Institutes: Each year, the Commission supports around 60 UK and US undergraduate students to undertake a demanding academic and cultural summer programmes at leading institutions in the US and UK respectively. This year we are hosting the following nine Summer Institute programmes at host institutions across the UK: AIFS Summer Institute at Shakespeare’s Globe; University of Bristol Summer Institute; Durham University Summer Institute; University of Exeter Summer Institute; King’s College London Summer Institute; Queen’s University Belfast Summer Institute; SOAS, University of London Summer Institute; Scotland Summer Institute (at the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde); and the Wales Summer Institute (at Cardiff University, Bangor University and Aberystwyth University). For more information visit Contact David Mannion, Communications and Advising Manager,

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


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