Rachel Fisher selected for international study award

Posted on March 3, 2017 10:01 PM

Russellville High School graduate Rachel Fisher is one of six WKU students who will study abroad this summer on Benjamin A. Gilman International ScholarshipsThe others are Bryan Anders of Bowling Green, Magen Estep of Bowling Green, Courtney Hurst of Louisville, Melissa Reeves of Louisville and Chanel Watkins of Louisville.

They each were awarded scholarships of up to $5,000 to take their studies overseas.

Fisher, a third-year biology major, is the daughter of Vicky and Jerry Mathis. She will be studying public health in Tanzania this summer. Fisher plans to attend medical school after graduation.

Anders, a third-year biology major, is the son of Becky and Floyd “Jose” Anders.  He will be studying in Japan this summer with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies. Anders plans to attend medical school after graduation.

Estep, a third-year marketing major, is the daughter of John Estep and Kelly and Michelle Harding and the mother of 10-year-old Kenlee. Estep will be studying in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where she will be participating in a service learning program focused on sustainable community engagement. “As a non-traditional student and a single mother, I would have only dreamed of studying abroad without the help of the Office of Scholar Development,” Estep said. “The Gilman Scholarship has opened a door to allow me to study abroad this summer.”

Hurst, a second-year special education major, is the daughter of Nicola Hurst. She will be studying in Costa Rica with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies.

Reeves, a third-year healthcare administration major, will be studying abroad in Tanzania this summer. Her family includes her husband Mitch Reeves and her two children Emily and Robbie.

Watkins, a third-year social work major, is the daughter of Shannon Neal and Keith Carter. She will be studying social work and will join Fisher in Tanzania through the Kentucky Institute for International Studies.

“All six Gilman recipients will be able to take their studies abroad and will be better prepared for an increasingly globalized workforce,” Cory Dodds, coordinator of Nationally Competitive Opportunities for the Office of Scholar Development, said. “Our students’ successes in the Gilman Scholarship competition are a credit to WKU faculty and staff who recognize the importance of studying abroad in non-traditional destinations.”

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, more than 2,800 Gilman scholarships will be awarded this academic year for undergraduate Pell Grant recipients to study or intern abroad. The program is intended to increase the number of students traveling to nontraditional destinations and increase diversity in study abroad by funding students of underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities; students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and students with disabilities.

Each of the students worked with the Office of Scholar Development at WKU in preparing their Gilman Scholarship application and with the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning to find the best academic program abroad to fit their goals. The students applied last fall during an early application cycle. Students seeking to study abroad this summer or fall may still apply for the Gilman Scholarship before March 7.

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.

About the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL): SAGL serves the WKU community by engaging students, faculty and staff in diverse, educational and cultural experiences through faculty-led, exchange, consortia and other study abroad opportunities. For information about the Office of Study Abroad, visit www.wku.edu/studyabroad. The office can be contacted via e-mail at study.abroad@wku.edu or by phone at (270) 745-5334.


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