It's not unusual for a college student to travel overseas as part of a study abroad program or research effort. What is unusual, however, is meeting the grandmother of the sitting U.S. president.
That's exactly what happened to Amy Correll, a Somerset native and WKU student who recently traveled to Kenya to conduct research for her honor's thesis on geriatric health studies.
Amy spoke to WKU Public Radio Thursday about her research and how she came to meet Sarah Obama. Here are some excerpts from our interview:
Tell us about what you were researching while in Kenya.
"We recognized a lot of needs, even in the hospital setting. And I was curious to know how elders there were functioning outside of that. I visited some very rural areas, did home visits, and did a survey through a translator with residents ages 60 and above."
At first glance, they look like RVs. But a closer look at the two giant trucks reveals the words “Mobile Health Unit” emblazoned on the side.
“The units that we have are basically a clinic-on-wheels. Each mobile unit we have two ‘clinic’ rooms that are just basically like a doctor’s office that you’d go to in a stationary clinic,” said Matthew Hunt, director of WKU’s Institute for Rural Health. “Regardless of location, we can see the patient and that’s a nice thing. We reduce barriers of transportation and take the services directly to the patient.”
The program recently received a $50,000 gift from the Good Samaritan Foundation to be used for supplies and an $8,000 grant from the Kentucky Department of Public Health to continue a program that brings free dental care to hundreds of school children in Allen County.
“It’s very expensive to offer these services to the community. These funding sources will help us purchase much-needed medical supplies such as gloves, flu vaccines and new portable equipment,” said Hunt.
The four-day joint meeting of the U.S. Confucius Institutes concludes on Monday in Bowling Green. Representatives from over 90 universities have attended the meetings, hosted by WKU. More than 260 delegates are attending the conference.
Madame Xu Lin is director general of the Chinese Education Ministry of Hanban. She says it’s important for Americans to learn about Chinese culture and vice-versa.
“Parents, students and teachers realize the two countries need to be hand-in-hand and we need to know each other, especially [in terms of] culture and for the younger generations [for their] careers,” said Xu who was in Bowling Green for the meetings.
W-K-U established its Confucius Institute in 2010 and sends students and staff every year to visit China. Xu says experiencing another culture first hand is invaluable.
Bobby Petrino likes to throw the ball all over the field. Antonio Andrews runs the ball so well the coach has changed his ways with Western Kentucky for now.
Andrews ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers downed Navy 19-7 Saturday, beating the Midshipmen at their own ground game.
The senior running back outgained the nation's best rushing offense all by himself as Western Kentucky (3-2) held Navy to 107 yards, well below the 398 yards the Midshipmen averaged through the first two games. The Hilltoppers outgained Navy 417-183 in total offense and held the ball 37 minutes.
Petrino called it a great win. And yes, he says the Hilltoppers are a little different on offense.
"We're running the ball, and we had to just stick to it today and work hard at moving the sticks, work hard at working the clock when we had the lead," Petrino said. "I'd love to take a couple shots there, but that's not what we needed to do to win the game."
A proposal to create new majors and minors in two different languages will be taken up by the WKU Board of Regents next month.
At Friday’s committee meetings, board members agreed to consider new degree programs for both Arabic and Chinese. WKU Modern Languages Department Head Laura McGee says there is an increasing student interest in those two languages
“We regularly receive requests from students to start Arabic here, or, if they’ve already started it, to continue to the higher levels. And they ask if there’s a potential to major in Arabic and Chinese. So we’re really glad that it looks like soon we’ll able to say they can.”
If approved by the full board during its October meeting, WKU would become the first university in the commonwealth to offer a major in Arabic. Under the proposal, the new degree programs in Arabic and Chinese would start in the spring of 2014.
The head of WKU's Special Collections, Timothy Mullin talks about the Abraham Lincoln note
A new piece of American history is now on display at the Kentucky Museum, but if you don’t look closely, you might miss it.
The handwritten note from 1864 measures only three inches by three inches, but comes with enormous historical significance. It was written by Abraham Lincoln.
“If it were in anyone else’s hand, it would be insignificant,” said Timothy Mullin, head of the Department of Library Special Collections at WKU. “But because it is Lincoln, and because it refers to the oath and it really is the essence of how he wanted the war to end.”
The note is dated March 31, 1864 and is written on behalf of a Confederate prisoner of war. It indicates that he’s taken an oath of allegiance to the Union and is to be set free.
The Kentucky Museum has several Lincoln artifacts, but Mullin notes, this one is special.
WKU took its early season frustrations out on Morgan State behind 291 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns from Antonio Andrews in a 58-17 win Saturday night.
Andrews' five scores broke the WKU (2-2) record for most rushing touchdowns in a single game. Andrews wasted no time getting things started with a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against the Bears (0-4). The senior finished with 17 carries for 213 yards on the ground. True freshman quarterback Todd Porter earned his first collegiate start for the Hilltoppers and all four quarterbacks saw time on the field. In Porter's NCAA debut, he completed five of 10 passes for 76 yards and threw one interception. WKU amassed 588 yards of total offense while Morgan State tallied 317 yards. Linebacker Xavius Boyd led all defenders with 10 tackles and Andrew Jackson followed closely with nine in the Hilltoppers' victory.
After starting the season with three games away from home, the WKU football team is gearing up for its first contest at L.T. Smith Stadium.
The Hilltoppers host Morgan State this Saturday night, and hope to get back in the win column after dropping their last two games.
WKU head coach Bobby Petrino says players and staff are excited to finally play in Bowling Green.
"I'm looking forward to the routine for a home game, and what you do, and how you prepare," the first-year Hilltopper coach said. "I'm looking for a crowd that will come out with a lot of energy and excitement. It's always great to play at home. And hopefully that's something that will really help us and give us energy and help in our preparation."
This will be the first time WKU has played Morgan State, which brings an 0-3 record into Saturday's game.
WKU opened the season with a win in Nashville against Kentucky, but then lost at Tennessee and at South Alabama.
A longtime journalist who received his bachelor's degree from Western Kentucky University has been chosen to lead the Lousiville Courier-Journal. The paper announced Neil Budde, will take over as executive editor on Monday. Budde, 57, replaces Bennie Ivory who retired earlier this year after 16 years in charge.
Budde, who has worked as an editor and reporter at the Courier-Journal, has also spent time with the Wall Street Journal's online publication and with the Yahoo! news division.
After his time at WKU, Budde received his MBA from the University of Louisville.
A new hotel is being called a bridge that will bring WKU and downtown Bowling Green closer together.
City and university leaders Tuesday announced that a 108-room Hyatt Place hotel will be built adjacent to the WKU Augustein Alumni Center. Construction on the four-story building will start this fall, with a scheduled opening in fall of 2014.
WKU President Gary Ransdell described the effort as a "cornerstone" that will help unite the school's campus and the city's downtown.
"This is what begins to marry Western Kentucky University--our physical campus--with downtown Bowling Green. This project is going to be the bridge which begins to bring these two very important variables in our community together."
The hotel will be owned by Dellisart Wellspring, LLC, the same group behind the Staybridge Suites Hotel in Bowling Green at the intersection of Nashville Road and Campbell Lane.