Owensboro Innovation Academy senior Katie Gray has been awarded the Presidential Fellowship Scholarship from Murray State University.

At Murray, Gray, 18, will be pursuing a degree in engineering physics with aspirations of becoming a college professor.

With the Presidential Fellowship Scholarship, Gray will receive full tuition, room and board and her meal plan. She also will have the opportunity to do five hours of research each week in her field, and is required to write a senior thesis at the end of her time at Murray.

“I am excited to meet with people who are like me and study things I’m passionate about,” she said. “It’s a personalized education plan.”

Through the scholarship, she also will have the opportunity to study abroad and plans to do that in Germany in 2022.

While attending OIA, Gray has been taking dual-credit courses at Brescia University and actually will graduate high school with an associate degree in pre-engineering. Those credits will transfer to Murray State.

Murray typically awards from 15 to 20 presidential scholarships a year. Students are selected through a rigorous application process that includes multiple in-person interviews. Incoming first-year students who have a 38 ACT composite score minimum and have a 3.7 GPA are eligible for the scholarship.

Warren Edminster, executive director of the Murray Honors College, said the presidential fellows are “all outstanding academic achievers, but they are also selected based on their demonstrated leadership potential and involvement in their communities.”

Gray said if she had one piece of advice to give to younger students, it would be to become involved in as many extracurriculars as they can. Her extensive involvement in programs outside of school really set her apart from other applicants, she said.

She also said becoming involved in school and the community allows others to see your passion for your future.

“Be intentional with your time,” she said as advice to underclassmen. “High school is a lot of fun, but also there is life-changing stuff happening in the next four years and you have to think about that, too.”

Edminster said presidential fellows also frequently publish their work before leaving Murray State, following their research under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

“Besides excelling in research, presidential fellows invariably take leadership roles in student groups, ranging from the Student Government Association to Greek organizations,” he said.

Murray State University President Bob Jackson said the school is “extremely proud” of the fall 2021 class of Presidential Fellowship Scholarship Recipients “as the group represents the very best in academic excellence and scholastic endeavors.”

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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