Centre student awarded third consecutive PPIA Summer Institute scholarship

by Matt Overing

Wuthikah Pun '25

Centre College is preparing its students for prestigious fellowships across the globe — see what one Lincoln Scholar is doing to make the most of her experience.

Lincoln Scholar Wuthikah Pun has long held public service close to heart.

She’ll be the third consecutive Centre College student to pair that public service interest with the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) fellowship in the Junior Summer Institute (JSI) program, held at six prestigious institutions across the United States. Pun applied and was accepted to the JSI program hosted at Princeton University.

A native of Cambodia, Pun’s first summer in the United States was the PPIA Public Service Weekend at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

“That experience ignited my passion for public service and international development, aligning with my aspirations to create long-term economic policies in Cambodia,” Pun said. “After that summer, I eagerly awaited the opportunity to apply for the PPIA Junior Summer Institute, recognizing it as a chance to gain essential skills in economic analysis and quantitative methods to address child poverty, financial inclusion and gender disparities in Cambodia.”

Pun is a member of the Class of 2025 at Centre and is a double major in international studies and economics and finance. She said that her experiences at Centre — particularly through the prestigious Lincoln Scholars program — brought her the skills and perspectives needed to help her in the application process.

“Prior to Centre and certainly since becoming a Lincoln Scholar, Wuthikah has been honing her vision for how economic policies and financial systems can be used to grow her home country's economy while simultaneously empowering fellow citizens and helping them live better and healthier lives," said Robert Schalkoff, director of the Lincoln Scholars program and office of fellowships. "I'm excited to see how Wuthikah will use the experience and knowledge she will gain this summer at Princeton to continue moving toward her larger goals."

Support at Centre is evident: Three consecutive PPIA fellowships highlight the strength of the College’s educational programs, and how the Office of Fellowships aids students in the application process.

“I received invaluable support from Dr. Schalkoff and (visiting assistant professor of international studies and anthropology) Dr. Chelsea Cutright, both of whom guided me and provided letters of recommendation,” Pun said. “Their assistance was crucial in refining my application and articulating my academic and professional goals.”

 Additionally, Pun has taken advantage of Centre’s top-ranked study abroad program, studying in Thailand, France and Tahiti.

“My global experiences in Thailand, France and Tahiti have provided me with skills to navigate unfamiliar environments and approach challenges with a global mindset,” Pun said. “I am confident that these resources have prepared me well for the rigorous academic environment of the PPIA Junior Summer Institute (JSI).”

The PPIA fellowship grants access to the JSI program, a rigorous two-month summer program that prepares its fellows for graduate school with an extensive alumni network and lifetime access to an annual public service expo. Pun said she’ll take courses in economics, statistics and international policy writing.

“I am particularly excited about the leadership training opportunities and networking experiences with experts in the field,” Pun said. “I believe this program will provide me with the tools and knowledge to understand and analyze economic data and policy, ultimately empowering me to address complex social and economic challenges in Cambodia and beyond.



Students interested in exploring the world of fellowships are encouraged to contact Robert Schalkoff at fellowships@centre.edu to start a conversation about their goals and passions. The office also shares information via email about opportunities that are specific to class cohorts, from first-year students to seniors.