Seventeen IU students recently received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. Ten of these students are participants in the Groups Scholars Program, the Hudson & Holland Scholars Program, or the 21st Century Scholars Program, all administered by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA). This scholarship is the largest national study abroad scholarship for undergraduate students and aims to fund study abroad for students with a high financial need. It provides up to $5,000 towards students' study abroad programs and an additional $3,000 if they are studying one of the critical-need languages determined by the US Department of State. For 4-year college students, the study abroad program must be three weeks or longer to be eligible for this scholarship.
"I would like to congratulate the students who were awarded the highly competitive Gilman scholarship during the last application cycle, which was due March 2020," Ochmaa Escue, director of the OVPDEMA Overseas Studies and Scholarship Program, said. "The students' original study abroad plans were interrupted due to the pandemic. However, the Gilman scholarship awardees will be able to use their Gilman scholarship for study abroad programs between January 1 – September 30, 2021."
According to Escue, the number of IUB students who apply for the Gilman scholarship has increased significantly since 2018, which she attributes to "intentional efforts to promote the scholarship and support students during their application process."
The IU Office of Overseas Study, OVPDEMA Overseas Studies and Scholarship Program, and the Academic Support Center have been cohosting Gilman Scholarship information sessions in the fall and spring semesters for the past two years to promote the scholarship and help with students with their application.
The new cycle Gilman Scholarship opened late August and closed on October 8. This cycle was for study abroad programs starting between January – December 2021, which covers spring, summer, and fall 2021 and academic year 2021-2022 programs. Amanda Roshan-Rawaan, associate director of the IU Office of Overseas Study and the official Gilman advisor for IUB students, and Escue have been working on multiple projects to support IU Bloomington students with their Gilman application this semester. They created a self-guided Canvas Tutorial page designed to walk students through the Gilman scholarship application. The Canvas page is open to Gilman-eligible students. In addition, Roshan-Rawaan and Escue hosted multiple zoom information sessions in September: Gilman Information Session, Essay Writing Workshop (in collaboration with the Writing Tutorial Services), and evening Gilman-Cram sessions. The March cycle application will open in mid-January 2021 and be for study abroad programs between May 1, 2021, and April 30, 2022. If students plan to study abroad in the next year or two, Escue encourages them to start looking into the Gilman scholarship requirements and application components now. Students interested in the Canvas page should email Ochmaa Escue at email@example.com.
Senior Araceli Flores, pictured here, received the Gilman scholarship last year, using it to travel to Madrid, where she lived for seven months. "It was an incredible experience," Flores said. "One of my passions is exploring the world, and this allowed me to immerse myself in a culture."
During her time in Madrid, Flores volunteered at a pro bono legal office where she helped individuals seeking residency in Spain and learning about other countries' immigration systems. "Thanks to the Gilman Scholarship, there wasn't a day that went by where I didn't think about my family," Flores said. "The experience was eye-opening, and I am fortunate and blessed to have been able to participate in something like this."
As a Gilman recipient, Flores must create a follow-up project which helps promote the Gilman scholarship. "It's one of those scholarships that's kind of a big deal, but no one knows about it unless someone tells you. I found out by accident when I was walking through the Global and International Studies Building, and there was a table there discussing the Gilman Scholarship."
For her project, Flores is working on creating a presentation centered around her time in Madrid that she can share with high school students from the same area.
"Where I'm from, not a lot of people know or think they can study abroad," Flores said. "And I want to show them that 'yes you can' and to encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity. I want to tell people that if this is an experience you want, to go for it. There are plenty of people who are more than willing to help you along the way."
For more information on the scholarship, please click here.
Gilman Scholarship Recipients who are in OVPDEMA programs:
- Ericka Alvarez
- Jada Brooks Edson
- Jasmine Filer
- Anai Hernandez
- Mohammed Khatib
- Makayla McQueen
- Annayelli Pacheco
- Tison Savage
- Alfonso Soto
- Alana Winters