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WKU’s Gatton Academy of Math and Science selects 99 Kentucky sophomores for Class of 2020

The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University has selected 99 Kentucky sophomores for the Class of 2020.

“We are excited to welcome the Class of 2020, an exceptional and diverse group of young people. Each year our admissions process reveals a remarkable number of outstanding Kentucky students seeking to challenge themselves in the STEM fields,” said Dr. Lynette Breedlove, Director of The Gatton Academy. “Admissions decisions were as difficult this year as any. The applicant pool was full of exceptional students with a range of interests and extracurricular activities.”

Applicants were evaluated based on ACT/SAT scores, high school grades, awards, extracurricular activities, responses to essay and short answer questions, and letters of recommendation. In addition to these criteria, earlier this month, 189 candidates were invited to interview with WKU faculty members, community leaders from across the Commonwealth and Gatton Academy alumni.

The selected students scored an average composite of 31.36 on the ACT and 30.84 on the mathematics portion of the exam. The highest possible score is a 36. Both of these scores represent the highest for an incoming class in the school’s history.

“We are thrilled to accept 99 students this year, which will bring us to our funded capacity,” said Assistant Director for Admissions and Public Relations Zack Ryle. “The ability to offer this opportunity to these bright, young high school students interested in STEM is truly exciting. I am thrilled that each one of the 99 students has agreed to be a part of our community for the next two years.”

Students from 48 counties represent the Class of 2020. Green County will have both its first and second student attend The Gatton Academy, while the following counties had a second student admitted in The Gatton Academy’s 10-year history: Floyd, Garrard, Morgan and Washington. All told, The Gatton Academy has students attend from 117 of the 120 counties in Kentucky.

“When selecting each class, our goal is to represent the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Ryle said. “This year, we saw not only a record of total applications started and completed, but we saw students from 80 counties start the application. In our history, we have never seen a pool of applicants as strong and diverse as the Class of 2020, which consequently has led to one of our strongest classes to date.”

The goal of The Gatton Academy is to enable Kentucky’s exceptional young scientists and mathematicians to learn in an environment that offers advanced educational opportunities, preparing them for leadership roles in Kentucky. Moreover, The Gatton Academy assists in preparing Kentucky to compete in a knowledge-based economy by increasing the number of scientists and engineers who live and work in the state.

“What an honor it is to welcome The Gatton Academy’s Class of 2020! These 99 high school sophomores with advanced ability and high interest in the STEM fields come from across Kentucky and are a great representation of the state,” said Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director of The Gatton Academy. “The Gatton Academy’s goal from day one was to partner with all school districts in the Commonwealth so students would have more advanced opportunities, and with this class, we have had a student accepted from 97 percent of the counties in the state.”

Students will complete their junior and senior years of high school living in Florence Schneider Hall and at the end of their two-year course of study, students will graduate from high school with a minimum of 60 college credit hours.

The Gatton Academy provides a rich living and learning environment designed specifically for academically talented adolescent students that features clubs, organizations and community service. Additionally, students are able to participate in advanced research with WKU faculty members. Research conducted during students’ time at The Gatton Academy has been honored in the nationally competitive Siemens Competition, Intel Science Talent Search, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, and the Department of Defense Science, Math, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship Program. The majority of Gatton Academy students also participate in a study abroad or global learning experience in locations such as Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, England and China.

The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first state-supported, residential program for high school students with interests in advanced science and math careers and one of only 15 such programs in the nation. The Gatton Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years.

Students selected for The Gatton Academy’s Class of 2020:

Anderson County

Riley Dodd (Anderson County High School) – son of Douglas and Karen Dodd from Lawrenceburg

Barren County

Abrar Rahman (Glasgow High School) – son of Momen and Tahmina Rahman from Cave City
Ashley Wright (Barren County High School) – daughter of Brandon and Debra Wright from Cave City

Boone County

Claire Braun (Larry A. Ryle High School) – daughter of Pamela Braun and David Braun from Union
Norman Chan (Conner High School) – son of Jennifer Wong and Simon Chan from Hebron
Jared “Drew” Cobble (Conner High School) – son of Lisa and Jared Cobble from Hebron
Lars Hebenstiel (Randall K. Cooper High School) – son of Katrin and Bjoern Hebenstiel from Union

Boyd County

Ashbey Manning (Boyd County High School) – daughter of Paul and Angie Manning from Ashland
Breckinridge County
John Thornhill (Breckinridge County High School) – son of Stephen and Lynn Thornhill from Hardinsburg

Caldwell County

Lillian Kimmel (Caldwell County High School) – daughter of Thomas and Pollyanne Kimmel from Princeton

Calloway County

Sophia Bogard (Calloway County High School) – daughter of Benji and Julie Bogard from Murray

Campbell County

John Thomas “JT” Reagor (Campbell County High School) – son of James and Stephanie Reagor from California (KY)

Carter County

Bruce Zheng (East Carter High School) – son of Li Huang and He Zhegn from Grayson

Christian County

Gabriella Lynn (University Heights Academy) – daughter of Paul and Michelle Grise from Hopkinsville
Jerry “JB” Morse II (Hopkinsville High School) – son of Jerry B. Morse and Kelly S. Morse from Hopkinsville

Clark County

Sarah Vickers (George Rogers Clark High School) – daughter of Tom and Dianne Vickers from Winchester

Crittenden County

Lily Berry (Crittenden County High School) – daughter of Jason and Randa Berry from Salem

Daviess County

Nathan Jones (Owensboro High School) – son of Randy and Elizabeth Jones from Owensboro
Christopher Salamah (Daviess County High School) – son of Ramez and Leslie Salamah from Owensboro
Austin White (Daviess County High School) – son of Karen Essex and Derek Brown from Owensboro

Edmonson County

Gavin Dooley (Edmonson County High School) – son of Jason and Jennifer Dooley from Smiths Grove

Estill County

Miriam Richardson (Estill County High School) – daughter of Antje and Carlos Richardson from Irvine

Fayette County

Bailey Knight (Paul L. Dunbar High School) – son of Tom and Julie Knight from Lexington
Timothy Leggas (Lafayette High School) – son of Suzanne Vanderwater and Mark Leggas from Lexington
Dalton Richardson (Frederick Douglass High School) – son of Lee Ann Richardson and Tucker Richardson from Lexington
Elisha VanZant (Henry Clay High School) – granddaughter of Thomas and Marian Jarboe from Lexington
Rocco Wrentmore (Paul L. Dunbar High School) – son of Chandra and Ernest Wrentmore from Lexington
Sierra Wyllie (Henry Clay High School) – daughter of Andrew Wyllie and Dr. Lisa Tannock from Lexington

Floyd County

Chad Bates (Floyd Central High School) – son of David and Donna Bates from Melvin

Franklin County

Lukas Negron (Western Hills High School) – son of Angel and Laura Negròn from Frankfort
Hasitha Ramisetti (Western Hills High School) – daughter of Ragini and Srinivas Ramisetti from Frankfort
Anna Simpson (Western Hills High School) – daughter of Tim and Alison Simpson from Frankfort

Garrard County

Ethan Baker (Garrard County High School) – son of Leslie Baker from Lancaste

Green County

Clark Church (Green County High School) – son of Chris and Mellyn Church from Center
Michael Givens (Green County High School) – son of David Givens from Greensburg

Greenup County

Lee Knupp (Russell High School) – daughter of Matthew L. and M. Ellen Knupp from Russell
Jocelyn Martin(Russell High School) – daughter of Brenda and James Martin from Russell
Nicholas Sabotchick (Russell High School) – son of Ronald and Michelle Sabotchick from Russell

Hardin County

Catherine Appelman (Elizabethtown High School) – daughter of Pat and Karen Appelman from Elizabethtown
Amara Danturthi (John Hardin High School) – daughter of R. Sarma and Padma Danturthi from Elizabethtown
JaMaur Lyons (North Hardin High School) – son of LaTasha Burton from Vine Grove
Patrick O’Boyle (John Hardin High School) – son of Astrid and John O’Boyle from Elizabethtown
Christopher Nathaniel Smith (North Hardin Christian School) – son of Chris and Rosalie Smith from Radcliff

Henderson County

Tristan Clement (Henderson County High School) – son of Michael and Jennifer Clement from Robards

Henry County

Emily Hilliard (Henry County High School) – daughter of Mike and Melanie Hilliard from Campbellsburg
Jackson McCoun (Henry County High School) – son of Doug and Cassandra McCoun from Smithfield

Hopkins County

Audrey Karis Littlepage (Madisonville-North Hopkins High School) – daughter of Melanie Dragoo and David Littlepage from Madisonville

Jefferson County

Sara Barrens (Louisville Collegiate School) – daughter of Mark Barrens and Kathy Barrens from Louisville
William Dolan (J. Graham Brown School) – son of Bill and Jennifer Dolan from Prospect
Sanya Dronawat (duPont Manual High School) – daughter of Harsha Dronawat and Sundeep Dronawat Barrens from Prospect
Lorenzo Mahoney (Kentucky Country Day School) – son of Graciela Ensenat and Michael Mahoney from Prospect
Logan Mingus (Atherton High School) – daughter of Marie and Jay Mingus from Louisville

Kenton County

Grace McClurg (Ludlow High School) – daughter of Jenny and Douglas McClurg from Fort Wright
Ian Storrs (Dixie Heights High School) – son of Glen Storrs and Robin Storrs from Covington

Knox County

Laura Beth Mills (Knox Central High School) – daughter of Brook and Sarah Mills from Barbourville
Sarah Pederson (Corbin High School) – daughter of Paul and Anne Pedersen from Barbourville

Laurel County

Ethan Coots (South Laurel High School) – son of Randy and Shelley Coots from London
Usman Salim (North Laurel High School) – son of Mazhar Salim and Nida Salim from London

Madison County

Hazel Traw (Berea Community High School) – daughter of Nancy Gift and Brian Traw from Berea

Marshall County

Kelsey Littrell (Marshall County High School) – daughter of Christy Centofanti and Eric and Heather Littrell from Calvert City

McCracken County

Jason Qiu (McCracken County High School) – son of Michael J. Qiu from Paducah
Alec Ramos (McCracken County High School) – son of Robert and Leslie Ramos from West Paducah
Annissa Roberts (McCracken County High School) – daughter of Eric and Brandy Roberts from Paducah

Montgomery County

Allison Paige Blevins (Montgomery County High School) – daughter of Jessica White Rogers, Joey Rogers and Brian Blevins from Mount Sterling
Laura Kathryn Pallay (Montgomery County High School) – daughter of Robert Pallay and Tami Pallay from Mount Sterling

Morgan County

Eamon O’Connor (Rowan County Senior High School) – son of Steve and Dolores O’Connor from West Liberty

Muhlenberg County

Jacob Moore (Muhlenberg County High School) – son of Doug and Barbara Moore from Greenville

Nelson County

Camila Lozano (Thomas Nelson High School) – daughter of Carmen and Arturo Lozano from Cox’s Creek
Laurel Philpott (Nelson County High School) – daughter of Susan Cavins and Matt Cavins from Bardstown

Ohio County

Jakob Quisenberry (Ohio County High School) – son of Jason Quisenberry and Tiffanie Quisenberry from Olaton

Oldham County

Chloe Banaszak (Oldham County High School) – daughter of Colleen and Terry Banaszak from Crestwood
Natalie Cooper (Oldham County High School) – daughter of Deanne Caffee-Cooper and Anthony Cooper from La Grange
Matthew Johnson (Oldham County High School) – son of Bridget and Mark Johnson from Smithfield
Hannah Leibman (North Oldham High School) – daughter of Alexander Leibman and Maria Margulis from Prospect
Elizabeth Morgan (Oldham County High School) – daughter of Laura and Darren Morgan from Crestwood
Uria Park (South Oldham High School) – daughter of Sam Park and Mihwa Lee from Crestwood
Saee Patwardhan (North Oldham High School) – daughter of Sanjeev and Himani Patwardhan from Goshen

Pendleton County

Chloe-Lin Jaiswal (Pendleton County High School) — daughter of Jill and Vikash Jaiswal from Butler

Perry County

Edwin “EJ” Fields (Hazard High School) – son of Stephanie Jones-Williams from Hazard

Pulaski County

David Suarez (Southwestern High School) – son of Junko and Ricardo Suarez from Somerset

Rowan County

Margot Hare (Rowan County Senior High School) – daughter of Janelle and Timothy Hare from Morehead
Licia Henneberg (Rowan County Senior High School) – daughter of Sylvia Henneberg and William Cole from Morehead
Eumin Shin (Rowan County Senior High School) – daughter of Geun-hwan Shin and Mee-Ryong Shon from Morehead

Russell County

Maggie Gossage (Russell County High School) – daughter of Darren Gossage and Angie Hedgespeth from Russell Springs

Shelby County

Hannah Suter (Martha Layne Collins High School) – daughter of Keenan and Heidi Suter from Shelbyville

Simpson County

Haley Leach (Franklin-Simpson High School) – daughter of Jody Glass, Dusty Glass, Robert Leach and Laura Leach from Franklin

Trigg County

Alexander Perry (Trigg County High School) – son of Shawn Perry from Cadiz

Warren County

Sai Boyareddygari (South Warren High School) – son of Suneel and Prasanthi Boyareddygari from Bowling Green
Akenpaul Chani (Pope John Paul II High School) – son of Arvinder and Swaranjit Chani from Bowling Green
Caitlin Cook (Greenwood High School) – daughter of Crystal and Larry Cook from Bowling Green
Mario Hernandez (Warren Central High School) – son of Leticia Becerril from Bowling Green
Owen Mefford (Greenwood High School)) – son of Allison and Brian Mefford from Alvaton
Maunil Mullick (Bowling Green High School) – son of Charu Raghuvanshi and Mrinal Mullick from Bowling Green
Meghan Pierce (Warren East High School) – daughter of Robin and Richard Pierce from Smiths Grove
Lydia Speer (Bowling Green High School) – daughter of Sandra and Nevil Speer from Bowling Green
Darby Tassell (Bowling Green High School) – daughter of Brad and Janet Tassell from Bowling Green
Elijah Whittle (Warren East High School) – son of Kim Whittle and Scott Whittle from Bowling Green

Washington County

Mary “Belle” Begley (Washington County High School) – daughter of Kenny and Cindy Begley from Springfield

Whitley County

Caeden Whitaker (Whitley County High School) – son of Dean and Jane Whitaker from Williamsburg


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