UMass Amherst Ranks Third Nationally in Federal Gilman Scholarships for Study Abroad

AMHERST, Mass. - Fifteen University of Massachusetts Amherst students have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for students to study abroad. Sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman scholarship program broadens study abroad participation for those in need of financial assistance.

These results place UMass Amherst third in the U.S. behind University of California, Berkeley, and New York University.

A total of 2,700 undergraduates from around the country applied for this federal scholarship targeted towards Pell Grant recipients. Nearly 900 scholarships were awarded, a selection rate of about 41 percent. Pell Grant recipients who want to study in non-traditional locations receive priority, as do students at community colleges or students with disabilities.

Each Gilman scholar is offered a scholarship between $2,500 and $5,000 to study abroad and a limited number of Critical Need Language Scholarships are given each year for a total award of $8,000. The list of Gilman Scholarship recipients is posted online at www.iie.org/gilman.

During the spring 2012 semester, UMass Amherst recipients will be studying at sites including Thailand, United Kingdom, Senegal, France and Costa Rica. The students’ majors range from resource economics and public health to management, political science, economics, mechanical engineering, and chemistry.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 2001, the program is administered by the Institute of International Education through its Southern Regional Center in Houston.

The UMass Amherst students submitted their applications with the guidance of the campus’s international programs staff and financial aid services.

Since the establishment of the Gilman International Scholarship Program by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, the number of scholarship awards has risen to above 9,000 undergraduates. Retired New York congressman Benjamin Gilman, who chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee, said, "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 UMass students awarded the Gilman Scholarship and their study abroad sites for spring 2012 are:

• James Bell, mechanical engineering major from Lynn, for study in Thailand

• Aaron Cope, resource economics major from Springfield, for study in the United Kingdom

• Gabriela Corbera, political science major from Taunton, for study in Chile

• Kaycee Farland, biology major from Teaticket, for study in the United Kingdom

• Sarah Hughes, Italian studies major from South Hadley, for study in Italy

• Farah Jeune, communication major from Roslindale, for study in Senegal

• Grace Kim, management major from Westborough, for study in Germany

• Madeline Magin, natural resources conservation major from Delmar, N.Y., for study in Costa Rica

• Kristen Mosher, English major from Ashland, for study in France

• Nathalie Ortiz, bachelor’s degree with individual concentration major from Holyoke, for study in South Korea

• Digna Pena-Mejia, public health major from Norwood, for study in Thailand

• Christin Sluter, political science major from Greenfield, for study in France

• Stevaughn Smith, psychology major from Westfield, for study in Spain

• Hoi Mang Tang, economics major from North Andover, for study in China

• Katherine Williams-Duhamel, chemistry major from Manchester, for study in the United Kingdom