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CANYON, Texas—One thing is for certain when it comes to Kimberly Mack and her desire to study abroad— her determination to make it happen. Her dauntless determination earned this West Texas A&M University student a $10,000 Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) scholarship, and she is headed to Norway for a year of study at the University of Oslo.
Mack, a sophomore political science major from New Orleans, La., is definitely a determined student. The New Orleans transplant is a first-generation student who started at Amarillo College and transferred to WTAMU. She is the first WTAMU student ever to receive a coveted FEA scholarship, and she is excited about the opportunities it will offer her.
“I have always been fascinated with Norway because of its political philosophies, and I wanted to experience it for myself,” Mack said. “The chance to learn about politics from professors and students who have different beliefs than my own was too big of an opportunity for me to pass up. I am the first person in my family to attend college so studying abroad is something none of us ever dreamed of. My mom is equal parts excited and scared for me. This is a new experience for both of us, and she is very excited to see me reach this goal.”
While at the University of Oslo, Mack will experience dorm life for the first time, and she plans to take a full course load of diverse classes.
“I’m taking a Norwegian language class every semester and a plethora of different political science and sociology classes,” she said. “Two classes I’m most excited about are the University of Oslo’s version of United Nations and a sociology class called Migration, Diversity and Inequality.”
In her determination to study abroad, Mack met with Carolina Galloway, director of WTAMU’s Office of Study Abroad. In checking what scholarships Mack may be eligible for, Galloway was excited to see that she qualified for several, including the FEA.
“It has been really challenging to get applicants for the FEA from WT,” Galloway said. “The scholarship awards up to $10,000, which most students love, but it’s highly competitive and has an ‘odd’ deadline of Jan. 10 so every year it’s been a problem to get students to make that deadline.”
Not for Mack. She jumped right in, getting in touch with Laura Seals in the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships and applying for the FEA scholarship along with a few others suggested to her by Galloway and Seals.
“Kim seemed like a great candidate for scholarships, someone who has the passion, was interested in a very non-traditional location, with the personality that screams, ‘I’ll do it,” plus the personal qualities that just seemed right,” Galloway said. “I was aware that FEA looks for some of those characteristics, all she needed was a little push.”
That little push, combined with Mack’s dogged determination, landed her the FEA scholarship as well as an International Education Fee Scholarship from the Office of Study Abroad—one that could give her up to $6,000 more for academic year in Norway. Galloway is waiting to hear if Mack is the recipient of any of the other scholarships she had applied for in her quest for study abroad support.
Mack is scheduled to leave Aug. 4 for her year abroad. She is currently using the app Duolingo to learn a bit of Norwegian before she lands in the Scandinavian country. While there, she hopes to take advantage of travel opportunities and plans to hike the Jotunheimen trails. Once she returns to WTAMU in the summer of 2019, Mack will fulfill two conditions required of the FEA scholarship—a service project and a blog. The service project will involve speaking to fellow WTAMU students about study abroad opportunities, and she will create a blog to share the experiences of her year in Norway.
“I love both AC and WT,” Mack said. “They have really helped me reach this goal, and without their support I wouldn’t be here. They helped me realize I am smart enough to attend school and anything I dream of I can accomplish.”
And Mack’s persistent determination definitely helped.
For more information about study abroad and scholarship opportunities at WTAMU, contact Galloway in the Office of Study Abroad at 806-651-5309 or email@example.com or Laura Seals in the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships at 806-651-2587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.