The Office of Scholar Development at WKU has awarded 16 WKU students more than $23,000 in Lifetime Experience Grants during the 2016-17 academic year.

The awards are designed to enhance students’ competitiveness for national scholarships by supporting research, creative activities, international study, student-designed service or other scholarly activities. As a condition of their awards, recipients of LTE grants apply for selected nationally-competitive scholarships relevant to their interests and goals. The LTE grant program was initially funded by a grant from the WKU Sisterhood in 2012.

The 2016-17 awardees are:

  • Audrey Alexander, an environmental studies major from Cottontown, Tennessee, who will attend the Arctic Circle conference in Iceland and calculate the conference’s carbon footprint.
  • Dana Biechele-Speziale, a chemistry and Chinese major from Grayson, who will research the effect of hugelkultur on a karst region’s ability to support agriculture.
  • Ashleigh Cleary, an international affairs and Spanish major from Hebron, who will research the effect of media on public perception of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ issues in China and Taiwan.
  • Meg Dillingham, a biochemistry major from Bowling Green, who will conduct research at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.
  • Ava Fergerson, a psychological sciences major from Bowling Green, who will research the relationship between sexual assault and symptoms of bulimia among women.
  • Jason Fox, a geography, environmental studies, and music major from Bowling Green, who will develop a framework for communication of sustainable best practices among whale watching operators in Iceland.
  • Jordan Alexis Gregory, a psychological sciences major from Louisville, who will conduct research on the impact of Head Start teachers’ use of cognitively challenging talk during unstructured time.
  • Colleen Jackson, a biology and chemistry major from Bowling Green, who will research the reactivity between novel platinum compounds and the cell.
  • Sarah Linder, an art history major from Louisville, who will attend a workshop at the Ortolan Studio in Veneto, Italy to study the creation and preservation of Venetian fresco painting.
  • Deborah Parrish, an anthropology major from Bowling Green, who will conduct research in Mongolia on the advent of mounted pastoralism and the development of social complexity.
  • Jocelyn Porter, a political science and broadcasting major from Louisville, who will intern with the Democratic staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Budget.
  • Hilarie Spangler, a theatre and music major from Middlesboro, who will intern with the Prototype New Works Festival in New York City.
  • Elizabeth Upshur, a graduate student in English from Antioch, Tennessee, who will research the contributions of African-American women writers from 1601-1920.
  • Lynn Von Hagen, a graduate student in biology from Hickory, Tennessee, who will research mitigation techniques used to alleviate human-elephant conflict in Kasigaue Wildlife Corridor, Kenya.
  • Paul Francis Wilson, an Honors self-designed media diplomacy major from Akron, Ohio, who will work as a media production and strategy intern with Project Pengyou in Beijing, China.
  • Allison Quiroga, a graduate student in environmental studies form Franklin, who will conduct research with the Icelandic Meteorological Office to examine the transport of carbon in Icelandic glacial rivers.

“National scholarship competitions are looking for students who are deeply engaged in their academic interests.  The LTE grants help students take advantage of the breadth of opportunities available to them at WKU while increasing their competitiveness for national scholarships,” said Dr. Audra Jennings, Director of the Office of Scholar Development.

For example, Deborah Flynn, a 2017 graduate in geology, traveled to Addis Adaba, Ethiopia, to conduct research on rock permeability along the Blue Nile River.  Mentored by Dr. Nahid Gani in the Department of Geography and Geology, Flynn was selected as an alternate for a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to Ethiopia to continue her research in hydrology.

About the WKU Sisterhood: Chaired by Julie Ransdell and Kristen Miller, the WKU Sisterhood is an organization of women advancing WKU priorities through philanthropic engagement and a collective voice. Since 2010 the Sisterhood has held an annual competition for units and programs affiliated with WKU to receive up to $40,000 in funding for high-impact projects. The Office of Scholar Development’s LTE program was awarded the grant in Fall 2012.

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: Cory Dodds, (270) 745-5043


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