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WCU sees a three-peat for Boren Scholarship recipients

joseph stankosky

Joseph Stankosky

By Julia Duvall

For the third year in a row, Western Carolina University has had a student chosen as a recipient of a David L. Boren Scholarship to study aboard.

Not only is WCU seeing a three-peat for scholarship recipients, but this year’s recipient Joseph Stankosky was just a first-semester freshman when he applied to study in Poland during the 2024-2025 academic year.

“During my first semester at WCU, I knew I wanted to study abroad,” said Stankosky, a Raleigh native double majoring in political science and international studies. “I went to see Mr. (Robert) Van Pelt in WCU Global to see what my options were. He told me about the Boren Scholarship and that Dr. (Ingrid) Bego, who happened to be one of my professors that semester, was the director of the Office of International Awards and could help me with that. After that, it all fell into place.”

Stankosky worked with Bego to get all of the application materials ready. At first, he was designated as an alternate but was ultimately chosen as an award recipient.

“I began the application process in September of my freshman year and completed everything around mid-January,” Stankosky said. “I have always wanted to be a foreign diplomat, so this is such an amazing opportunity.”

In addition to his interest in foreign affairs, Stankosky knew he wanted to complete his studies in Poland, which was the first European country he had visited a few years ago.

“I have a very good friend who lives in Warsaw, Poland, and after I graduated high school, I went for a visit and fell in love with the country,” Stankosky said. “While I thought I might want to study in Japan, my heart just kept going back to Poland. The people are so proud of their country, the hospitality and the food are amazing and I am very excited to go back.”

Stankosky will study Polish from December 2024 to July 2025.

“Joseph was in one of my introductory courses his first semester and it was obvious he already knew what he wanted to accomplish,” Bego said. “We worked through his essays to get them ready to submit and he is just so humble and open to growth. He is wise beyond his years and has a bright future ahead of him.”

Stankosky credits Bego, Van Pelt, his advisers and professors for their guidance and support.

“None of this would be possible without my advisers and my professors,” he said. “I would have never known about this scholarship if it weren’t for Western. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive group of like-minded individuals to help me on my academic journey.”

Bego said the support from WCU’s Office of Global Engagement is unmatched and is key in getting students like Stankosky these opportunities.

“We cannot send students on these foreign scholarships without the assistance of the WCU Global team, particularly Robbie Van Pelt,” she said. “From last-minute needs, to working out how to safely get Joseph to Poland, or help with visas, we can count on Robbie and the rest of the team, and we are so grateful.”

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