UMass Amherst Students Awarded Gilman Scholarships

AMHERST, Mass. – Fifteen University of Massachusetts Amherst students are studying abroad this fall with Gilman Scholarships in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.
These results place UMass Amherst fourth in the U.S. behind the University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco State and University of California, Santa Barbara.
A total of 2,685 undergraduates from around the country applied for this federal scholarship targeted towards Pell Grant recipients. Nearly 1,200 scholarships were awarded, a selection rate of about 42 percent. Pell Grant recipients who want to study in non-traditional locations receive priority, as do students with disabilities, non-traditional students, or students at community colleges.
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
During the fall semester, UMass Amherst recipients will be studying at sites including Brazil, Korea, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Japan and China. The students’ majors range from computer science and economics to public health sciences and Chinese.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 2001, the Gilman program increases access to study abroad participation for those who have completed the FAFSA and qualify for a Pell Grant. The Gilman program is administered by the Institute of International Education.
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 over 10,000 undergraduates nationwide. Congressman Benjamin Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, 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.”
Sixty-nine percent of Gilman Scholarship recipients are studying outside of Western Europe, the most common destination for study abroad among the national study abroad population. Seventy-nine percent of Gilman recipients are studying a language while abroad, and of those 37 percent are learning a “critical need language.”
The UMass Amherst students awarded Gilman Scholarships for fall 2012 are:
  • Lorena Alves, psychology and Spanish double major from Framingham, for study in Argentina
  • Health Centeio, psychology major from Boston, for study in Brazil
  • Lori Chau, English and political science double major from Worcester, for study in Korea
  • Christopher Garry, computer systems engineering and Commonwealth College major from Worcester, for study in Germany
  • Amaris Gonzales, anthropology major from Worcester, for study in Morocco
  • Jeffrey Hadley, Japanese language and literature major from Newmarket, N.H., for study in Japan
  • Christine Howe, legal studies and Commonwealth College major from Stoughton, for study in Argentina
  • David Leather, finance and operations management major from Forestdale, for study in India
  • Widlynn Louis, sociology major from Boston, for study in South Africa
  • Dara Nay, women, gender and sexuality studies major from Worcester, for study in South Africa
  • Graciett Ramos, sociology and psychology double major from Taunton, for study in Australia
  • Ramilkia Santiago, public health sciences major from Lawrence, for study in Spain
  • Priscilla Velasco, Japanese language and literature major from Natick, for study in Japan
  • Bill Ye, economics major from Quincy, for study in Hong Kong
  • Murong Zheng, Chinese language and literature and mathematics double major from Westerly, R.I., for study in China