Monday, July 23, 2001

Senior scholars finding success

By Scott Wartman
Enquirer Contributor

        HIGHLAND HEIGHTS — In the summer of 1990, Danville native Kelly McLaughlin went from a shy teenager to a confident young adult. She credits this transformation to the Governor's Scholars program.

        Ms. McLaughlin, 28, teaches graphic design at the University of Iowa and for the last four years has taught courses at the Governor's Scholars.

        The five-week summer course is for Kentucky high school seniors-to-be. Admission is competitive, and students live and take courses at Northern Kentucky University, Centre College and Eastern Kentucky University.

        Most classes are more of a group discussion than a lecture. In English teacher Frank Ward's Literary Studies class, students sat on plush leather couches in the den of the Honors House at NKU.

        Mr. Ward, clad in summer shorts and polo shirt, raised various topics and students added to the conversation at will, making it seem like a friendly chat at a coffee house.

        Vanessa Domizlaff, a senior from Highlands High School and a student in Mr. Ward's class, said the relaxed nature of the class helps her learn.

        “It makes it a lot easier to express ourselves,” she said.

        Doug Lotz, a Louisville native who was a scholar in 1994, now teaches a class for the Governor's Scholars called “Methods of Healing,” which focuses on holistic medicine.

        Mr. Lotz said the program has helped his teaching skills.

        “It encouraged me to look for new and creative ways to present the material rather than just regurgitate it,” he said.

        Students are not graded in courses in the program, allowing for a more stress-free way of learning, said Kent Juett, campus director at NKU.

        Scholar Karri Voskuhl of Tates Creek High School in Lexington said it was the simple things in the program that were most beneficial to her and helped prepare her for college.

        Among them: Doing her own laundry and getting used to cafeteria food. While some students may not want to take five weeks out of their summer, Ms. Voskuhl said the experience is worth it.

        “Don't be afraid to try something new,” she said. “It's not as scary as you think once you get involved.”


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