Honors and Awards

UMass Amherst Named a 20-Year Top Producer of Gilman Scholars

Recognition for program that increases diversity in study abroad programs

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst was among the higher ed institutions recognized today by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for having produced the most Gilman Scholarship recipients over the past 20 years in the Large Institution category. A total of 285 students from UMass Amherst received Gilman awards since 2001.

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“The announcement of this important recognition is an occasion to celebrate both the accomplishments of our many students who received Gilman Scholarships over the past two decades and the work of the International Programs Office, which supported them in preparing their applications,” said Provost John McCarthy.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is proud to announce the 20-year anniversary of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and its top producing institutions over the past 20 years. Throughout its history, the Gilman Program has reshaped study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students by providing scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduate students who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 34,000 Gilman Scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe.

Today at the Diversity Abroad conference, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ethan Rosenzweig virtually announced the U.S. colleges and universities that have sent the most Gilman Scholars abroad over the past two decades. These institutions were recognized for their support of equity, diversity and accessibility in study abroad for American students through the Gilman Program. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, compiles the lists, which are organized by institution size and degree-awarding category.

Based on 20 years of data, the top 20 institutions in four categories are being honored: small, medium, and large institutions and associate-awarding institutions. Colleges and universities in 27 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, are represented, as well as 33 minority serving institutions. Since 2001, 285 UMass Amherst students have been the recipients of a Gilman Scholarship, earning the Top Producer accolade

“I am incredibly proud of our long success with the Gilman Scholarship,” said Kalpen Trivedi, vice provost for global affairs. “By providing generous support for students from groups traditionally underrepresented in study-abroad, the Gilman program plays a crucial role in our campus priority of creating an inclusive international education program.”

As the recent Department of State and Department of Education Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education noted, “All Americans need to be equipped with global and cultural competencies to navigate the ever-changing landscapes of education, international business, scientific discovery and innovation, and the global economy.

“As a student responsible for paying for my own education, I knew I could not fulfill my dream of studying in Japan without a major scholarship like the Gilman,” said Katherine Gutierrez Orrego ‘22, a Japanese and sociology major who studied at International Christian University in Tokyo in 2020-21. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to represent the Gilman Scholarship and by extension, the U.S. as a citizen diplomat.”

“As a first-generation student paying for college by myself, and worried about not being able to earn an income while abroad, I am grateful for the support received from the Gilman Scholarship,” said Makhai Dickerson-Pells ’21, a history major with a certificate in Native and Indigenous Studies and also a master’s degree student in African American studies ’23 who studied abroad with the UMass Emerging Scholars Program in the Dominican Republic in 2018 and at the University of Florianopolis in Brazil in Spring 2020. “By studying abroad I was able to improve my language and research skills.”

At UMass, information on the Gilman Scholarship is available through the International Programs Office (IPO). IPO staff are available to consult with students on their applications and essays for the scholarship. Mark Eckman, director of education abroad in IPO, said the Gilman is “an important tool in helping create access to international education for students who have high financial need.” The Gilman can be combined with financial aid to help underrepresented students afford to study abroad.

To learn more about the Gilman and Gilman-McCain Scholarships and how their diverse alumni are pursuing impactful careers in the government, non-profit, and private sectors, contact eca-press@state.gov and visit www.gilmanscholarship.org. The website includes a full list of the institutions by category, and additional information on the Gilman Program’s 20th anniversary.

About the Gilman Scholarship Program

The Gilman Scholarship Program broadens the student population that studies and interns abroad by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints. The program aims to encourage students to study and intern in a diverse array of countries or areas and world regions. The program also encourages students to study languages, especially critical need languages (those deemed important to national security). Veterans of military service are encouraged to apply, and preference is given to veterans when other factors are equivalent. By supporting undergraduate students who have high financial need, the program has been successful in supporting students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad, including but not limited to first-generation college students, ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students attending HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) or other minority-serving institutions, students attending community colleges, and students coming from U.S. states with less study abroad participation.