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K-State Today

March 27, 2012

French connection: National scholarship provides summer of study in Paris for student from Overland Park

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

A summer in France is a dream come true for Kansas State University student Andrew Sweeney, Overland Park.

Sweeney, a junior in music and French education, is the recipient of the Pi Delta Phi Joseph W. Yedlicka Award. Sponsored by American University in Paris and Pi Delta Phi French honorary, Sweeney will spend seven weeks this summer studying in Paris. Pi Delta Pi presents four of the nationally competitive awards annually to students in the honorary, but only one of the awards is to Paris.

Sweeney has a deep interest in foreign cultures, which stems from his experiences growing up in East Africa   --as a missionary kid -- and recent trips to Italy and India. He heard about studying abroad opportunities in his freshman year, but a lack of resources and time prevented him from studying in France.

"Andrew's enthusiasm came through in his application letter, and he made a great impression on everyone on the selection committee," said Beverly Evans, Pi Delta Phi executive director. "We believe that Paris will be a terrific place for him to explore his interest in music as well."

Sweeney enjoys both music and French but his career passion is teaching and helping teenagers.

"The Lord has blessed me with gifts in music and French and I want to use my gifts to help students on their journey of life," Sweeney said. "I want to be more than a teacher of knowledge and skills; I want to make a lasting, positive impact on students' lives."

The award will help Sweeney not only improve his French language skills, but also gain deeper understanding of the French culture. He has chosen to live with a host family instead of the dorms at the university -- an experience that he sees as an asset for his career.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity," Sweeney said. "To be able to say to my future students that I lived in Paris and was immersed in the Parisian culture for nearly two months is going to be invaluable for me as a Francophone."

Sweeney has also received the Wabash Cannonball Scholarship through the Kansas State University Alumni Association, scholarships through the music and modern language departments, and the university's Foundation Scholarship.