Lillian Hamm is among four students at Western Kentucky University’s Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science to receive nationally competitive scholarships for study abroad this summer.
The Pulaski County High School senior is the daughter of Tina Benge-Hamm and Mark Hamm of Somerset.
“Through full immersion, I expect my language skills to cultivate and blossom,” Hamm stated. “Furthermore, I will not only gain a deeper understanding of a culture rooted in a history that extends thousands of years, but I will also gain an understanding of culture that is changing the landscape of modern society. This knowledge will be used in my continuing language study and career path.”
NSLI-Y (National Security Language Initiative for Youth) scholarships are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. They offer full funding for six- to eight-week programs including a four-day orientation to Washington, DC; travel to and from host countries; housing with host families; meals; and all activities and fees. The merit-based scholarships are for high-achieving secondary school students to learn critical languages through immersion.
The Gatton Academy has three critical language tracks in Arabic, Chinese and Russian called STEM + Critical Languages. In these optional curricular tracks, students choose to pair progressively-rigorous critical language study each semester alongside the classic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum offered to all Gatton Academy students.
Hamm is a graduating student in the STEM + Chinese track taking courses in WKU’s Department of Modern Languages. She will continue her study of the language this summer in Shanghai, China’s largest city.
Hamm has previously traveled to China on two occasions. Last summer, she traveled to China on the Confucius Institute’s Bridge to China Summer Program. She returned this spring on a Confucius Institute research-intensive program. She also participated in The Gatton Academy’s summer 2017 WKU study abroad course in England.
Hamm plans to major in Chinese and Geology at WKU.
This marks the eighth consecutive year that Gatton Academy students have received NSLI-Y scholarships. Joining Hamm as the newest recipients are Mattie Allara of Pikeville, Jonathan Bramley of Fairdale and Sarah Yaacoub of Nicholasville.
Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential two-year program for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years and was named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.