Skip to main content

TESOL/Editing Student Leanne Chun Awarded Wheatley Leadership Scholarship

The scholarship, extended to 20 students annually by secret faculty nomination, will help propel Chun into an international English teaching career.

Portrait of Leanne Chun

Leanne Chun’s interest in English linguistics began after she volunteered as an English teacher while serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korea. ”I hated that I was bad at it!” she recounts. “I couldn’t explain things other than just saying that’s just how it is.” When she returned home to attend university, her curiosity about English as a language grew, and she enrolled in the English Language major—and later the adjacent Editing and Publishing major—with a minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Unlike most scholarships, students cannot apply for the Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley Endowed Leadership Scholarship—so it came as a surprise when Chun discovered she was being awarded the scholarship. The prestigious two-year scholarship is offered by BYU’s Wheatley Institution and amounts to three years of 130% BYU Latter-day Saint undergraduate tuition, starting in the recipient’s senior year and continuing through two years of a graduate education at any university. It is granted to 20 students annually who have been successful “in applying leadership qualities in various aspects of their lives as they contribute to the world around them,” according to the scholarship agreement.

Currently, Chun team-teaches English classes at the BYU English Language Center as part of the TESOL minor’s practicum, an experience she describes as “fantastic.” This is in preparation for a full teaching internship that, combined with the minor, will qualify her to teach internationally through BYU’s TESOL certificate program.

Chun has been active not only as a learner and teacher, but as a researcher, and will be presenting findings this week at the 2022 TESOL Convention in Pittsburgh, PA alongside Drs. Grant Eckstein and Jacob Rawlins about differences in academic language across disciplines.

What’s next? Chun plans to keep teaching English, hopefully overseas. “I’d love to go back to Korea,” she comments. It’s a full-circle journey that exemplifies the role of BYU as a stopping point for nourishment of the mind and spirit along life’s path. Thanks to generous donors like those of the Wheatley Institution, students like Chun are enabled to “enter to learn; go forth to serve.”