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Fifteen undergraduates awarded scholarships to study abroad

1/13/2011 | Mare Payne, News Bureau | 217-333-0567;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Fifteen University of Illinois undergraduates have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to study abroad during the spring 2011 semester.

For the spring term, U. of I. had the second highest number of Gilman recipients in the nation, behind the University of California at Berkeley.

“U. of I. Gilman recipients will be canvassing the globe this spring, with awardees studying in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia, which is a real tribute to the diversity of study abroad programs available to Illinois students,” said David Schug, co-director of the National and International Scholarships Program.

“Several of these students are studying for more than one semester, allowing them to really learn a language and become comfortable in a different culture,” said program co-director Laura Hastings.

U. of I. recipients, their programs,and destinations include (EDITORS: See list).

The Illinois recipients are among 850 outstanding American undergraduates awarded Gilman scholarships from an applicant pool of 2,900. Illinois students have been awarded more than $60,000 from the Gilman Scholarship program for this semester.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad program costs. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must demonstrate financial need by receiving a federal Pell Grant for their current studies.

The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education. Applications for summer or fall 2011 Gilman study abroad scholarships are due by March 1.

Since the establishment of the Gilman International Scholarship Program by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, Gilman has provided 8,800 awards to students from all 50 states to study in 116 countries. The program honors U.S. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, of New York, a former chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee who retired in 2002 after serving 30 years in the House of Representatives.

“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,” Gilman said. “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.”

On campus, the nationally competitive Gilman Scholarship is a joint effort among the Office of Student Financial Aid, which advertises the scholarship; various campus study abroad offices that advise students about the award; and the National and International Scholarships Program that offers reviews of student materials and feedback to Illinois applicants.


CHICAGO 60617 – Karen Bugarin, junior in general curriculum, Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro Exchange Program, Brazil, spring 2011 

60634 – Karolina  Maslanka, junior in global studies, evolution, ecology and conservation (GAIAS) in San Cristobal, Ecuador, spring 2011

60641 – Rabia Halim, senior in accountancy, intensive Arabic language in Aleppo, Syria, spring 2011
60652 – Randy L Nolden, senior in mechanical engineering, language in context, Alicante, Spain, spring 2011

60657 – Alma Aguila, junior in accountancy, Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, spring 2011

60659 – Abel K. Tesfay, junior in kinesiology, University of Western Australia Exchange Program; Kimberly Paige Vo, junior in psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong Exchange Program, China, both spring 2011

LINCOLNWOOD – Melissa Estrada, junior in communication, intensive Spanish, Bilbao, Spain, spring 2011 

MONEE – Paulina Eudave, junior in international studies, LAS-French Illinois Program in Paris, spring 2011

NORTHBROOK – Marjan Fathi, junior in health, British Exchange Program, University of Leeds, England, spring 2011 

PLAINFIELD – Pedro Aguirre, sophomore in finance, language program, St. Petersburg, Russia, spring 2011

RIVERSIDE – Martin D Reggi, junior in international studies, American Council of Teachers of Russian, Moscow, spring 2011 

ROCKFORD – Alexandra Custer, junior in global studies, capacity building and human rights in East Africa, Arcadia University, Tanzania, spring 2011

SKOKIE – Benjamin Joseph Saliba, senior in global studies, North African and Arabic Studies, IES Rabat, Morocco, spring 2011

URBANA – Cameron Kyle Zelaya, junior in sociology, intensive Spanish in Bilbao, Spain, academic year 2010-2011. 

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