By Joya Helmuth
Arts and Letters undergraduates Irla Atanda and Abigail Awodele have been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study abroad during the summer 2017 term.
Awodele, a Chinese and science preprofessional studies major, will participate in the China Language Program, and Atanda, an American studies major, will study in South Africa.
“Assisting students in pursuing high-impact study abroad opportunities is at the core of what we do, and I’m continually impressed by Gilman’s support of students, particularly those who choose to study abroad in more non-traditional locations,” said Kyle Sturges, assistant director at Notre Dame International. “Programs like Gilman are invaluable, as they have the potential of allowing an opportunity that might otherwise be out of reach.” Sturges is well-placed to advise undergraduate students about study abroad and related funding opportunities; the U.S. Department of State selected him to serve on the Gilman Selection Panel for summer 2015 and 2016, and again in the fall 2017 review cycle.
Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs. The program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or internships abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply. Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.
The late Congressman Gilman served in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee. When honored with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002, he commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”
The program is administered by the Institute of International Education. The list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available on their website: gilmanscholarship.org. According to Allan Goodman, President and CEO of IIE, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries. It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”
Originally published at international.nd.edu.