Wofford President Benjamin Dunlap presents Laura Kate Gamble, of Summerville, with the college’s Presidential International Scholar award Tuesday. Photo Credit: ALEX C. HICKS JR./firstname.lastname@example.org
By Drew Brooks
The Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
A Wofford student will travel thousands of miles this fall as part of a scholars program funded by an anonymous donor.
Laura Kate Gamble, 21, of Summerville, plans to visit Nepal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Peru and Haiti as the college's Presidential International Scholar, a distinction given to the rising senior “most likely to be of benefit to humankind,” according to Wofford College. The program allows the student to travel throughout the semester for an independent study project.
Gamble, who is majoring in biology and Spanish with a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean studies, said she wants to study how nongovernmental organizations are fighting poverty in those countries.
“I want to look at poverty and how children can pull whole families out of poverty,” she said.
Gamble is the school's 30th Presidential International Scholar. She was recognized at the school's annual Honors Convocation, which honored graduating seniors who have excelled in academics, leadership and service.
The convocation was held at Wofford's Leonard Auditorium on Tuesday.
Gamble said she learned of the honor on Thursday, after being called to school President Benjamin B. Dunlap's office. Afterwards, she immediately began researching possible destinations.
“I was completely stunned and I'm very excited,” she said. “I am thrilled. I cannot wait to travel.”
Gamble has long held an interest in how organizations can help in the developing world, she said, and plans to intern with one such organization this summer in Atlanta.
“Many are started by young people and I want to see how they are putting their ideas to use,” she said or the organizations she hopes to visit overseas.
She will travel between August and January and then present her research at the end of the spring semester.
Dunlap personally chose Gamble for the honor and called her on stage to join him and four past scholars to start Tuesday's Honors Convacation.
“Laura Kate Gamble is an extraordinary combination of scholarly brilliance, energetic creativity and generous compassion — not only the perfect embodiment of what we seek for the Presidential International Scholar but what we want Wofford students to become,” Dunlap said. “She is sure to make the most of this remarkable opportunity.”
Gamble, a Dean's List student and volunteer with Wofford's Math Academy, has only traveled outside the country once before, she said. Last year, she visited Chile.
In past years, the school's Presidential International Scholars have traveled to up to a dozen countries, including Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuala, Ghana, Egypt, Israel and India, among many others.
Last year's Presidential International Scholar, David McIlvain Moore, traveled across South America. He studied renewable energy development.
Moore, who graduates this year, was honored repeatedly Tuesday as he was recognized by the Mathematics, German and International Studies departments.
Dozens of other students were also honored. Awards were presented for each of the school's academic departments while others were recognized for their involvement and leadership in the college community.
All of the students, save Gamble, will graduate May 19.
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