Russellville High School graduate Sarah Fox, a Western Kentucky University freshman and Presidential Scholar, is the first WKU student selected by the US-UK Fulbright Commission to attend a Fulbright Summer Institute for Undergraduates.
The Summer Institutes provide the opportunity for American freshmen and sophomores to go to the United Kingdom on a three- to six-week academic and cultural summer program.
Fox, a music education major, is the daughter of Brian and Susan Fox of Russellville and a graduate of both the Governor’s Scholars Program and Governor’s School for the Arts. The Fulbright UK Summer Institute will extend her experience with prestigious academic programs well beyond Kentucky.
“Winning this scholarship is a dream come true,” Fox said. “The music, land and people of the United Kingdom have always fascinated me, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be immersed in a culture that has had a profound effect on my heritage and is yet so foreign.”
Fox will have the opportunity to study with other high-achieving students at Newcastle University, explore the culture, heritage and history of the UK, and develop her academic ability by improving her presentation, research and communication skills.
“The summer institute at Newcastle University will be comprised of students from around the world, and it is my goal to expand my horizons by learning about each of them. I hope that my days will be filled with challenges through which I will grow, people from whom I will learn, and experiences through which I will live more fully,” she said.
An English minor, she will take one of several course options at Newcastle University, including creative writing and literary editing. Her music professors expect her to carry her talent and passion for music into a successful experience at Newcastle.
“Sarah has the heart of a solo musician, but also contains the service role of being an accompanist, which is a rare combination for a musician,” Music Department Head Mitzi Groom said. “She will be a stellar ambassador for WKU and the Department of Music. She is clearly one of our up-and-coming stars.”
Fox was supported through the process by the Office of Scholar Development, working on the application with Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith for several weeks.
“We had a very strong pool of applicants for the Summer Institutes this year from WKU, and although the Commission doesn’t share the numbers of students who applied, I understand from other scholarship advisors throughout the U.S. that the competition was very stiff. Sarah is just one of six American students nationwide chosen for Newcastle, so she has an awful lot to be proud of,” Dr. Grimsley-Smith said.
Fox expects her participation in the Summer Institute at Newcastle University to act as a stepping stone to further prestigious scholarships and opportunities in the future, and credits her experience at WKU for making it possible.
“The Office of Scholar Development, Honors College, and Music Department faculty have given me inspiring knowledge and genuine support, and I am so proud to be a part of this institution that every day proves its motto as ‘A Leading American University with International Reach’,” Fox said.
Russellville schools superintendent Leon Smith said the whole district is proud of Fox for her accomplishment.
“She is just an outstanding young lady with a great future,” Smith said. “We are excited for her and her family and we’re looking for really great things from her. Words can’t describe how proud we are of her.”