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CCHS Sophomore Amber Wu Chosen for The Gatton Academy at WKU

CCHS Sophomore Amber Wu Chosen for The Gatton Academy at WKU

Calloway County High School sophomore Amber Wu has been selected for The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University. Ninety-five students in Kentucky were selected for this prestigious honor, marking The Gatton Academy's 19th incoming class. 

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

At Calloway County, Wu is a standout student. She achieved a perfect 36 composite score on The ACT Test and has a 4.0 grade point average. She has been an all-star on the Laker academic team - tying for first in the state Governor’s Cup in math in 2024 and finishing first overall in math as an eighth grader in 2022. She also placed first in writing composition in the 2024 regional competition. She has also received numerous awards in other regional history and math competitions.

Wu is also active with the CCHS Speech Team, Future Business Leaders of America, BETA Club, and tennis team. In addition, her artwork was recently chosen for display at the All-State Purchase/Pennyrile Regional Art Exhibition. She is the daughter of Juyoung Song and Mingyang Wu.

Applicants were evaluated based on ACT/SAT scores, high school grades, awards and accomplishments, extracurricular activities, responses to essay and short answer questions, and recommendation forms. In addition to these criteria, candidates were invited to interview with WKU faculty members, community leaders from across the Commonwealth, and Gatton Academy alumni. Students from 40 counties make up the Class of 2026. 

“It is a pleasure to welcome these students to The Gatton Academy,” stated Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director of The Gatton Academy and Mahurin Professor of Gifted Education. “The young people in Gatton’s Class of 2026 represent Kentucky in many ways, carrying out the goal of The Gatton Academy to enable Kentucky’s exceptional young scientists and mathematicians to learn in an environment that offers advanced educational opportunities and develop as future leaders for the Commonwealth.”

The mission of The Gatton Academy is to provide a residential program on the campus of Western Kentucky University for bright, highly motivated Kentucky high school students who have demonstrated interests in pursuing advanced careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students enhance their creativity, curiosity, reasoning ability, and self-discipline through the companionship of peers, university courses, faculty-led research, and study abroad, preparing them for leadership roles in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Moreover, The Gatton Academy assists in preparing Kentucky to compete in a knowledge-based economy by increasing the number of scientists and engineers with ties to the state.

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 Regeneron Science Talent Search, Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, and published in scientific journals. Study abroad opportunities allow students to participate in global learning experiences in locations such as Costa Rica and England.

The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first state-supported, two-year residential program for high school students with interests in advanced science and math careers and is one of only 15 such programs in the nation. The Gatton Academy is a recipient of the 2022 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from Insight Into Diversity Magazine and the Innovation Partnership Award from the National Consortium for Secondary STEM Schools.