Seven WKU students have been awarded funding through the U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program to participate in study abroad programs around the globe in Summer and Fall 2013.
Andrea Ayoroa, a junior in Exercise Science with a minor in Spanish from Lexington, will be participating in an intensive Spanish language program this fall at the Universidad del Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“This is my opportunity to become fluent in Spanish while exploring my Latin heritage,” she said. “I am so thankful to receive the Gilman Scholarship, which makes this experience possible.”
Natalie Koppel, a junior in Marketing and Sales and member of the Honors College from Louisville, will be studying business and political science at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa this summer.
“I did not believe studying abroad would be an option due to my financial situation, but after receiving the Gilman Scholarship, I am now able to fulfill my ambition of studying in South Africa,” Koppel said. “The Gilman will allow me to become a worldlier economist, a more competitive professional, and a stronger person. The importance of this scholarship is beyond the dollar value and is more an encouragement I have graciously received to pursue my dreams.”
Trevor Peden, a junior in Biology from Glasgow, will be studying Japanese language, writing, art and cross-cultural psychology this fall at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan.
“My study abroad was dependent on the Gilman Scholarship, and it would not have happened without it,” Peden said.
Timothy Phelps, a senior in English for Secondary Teachers from Shepherdsville, will be completing his last four weeks of student teaching at Anne Frank Gymnasium in Werne, Germany this fall. He will be teaching English to children in grades 4-12.
“Receiving the Gilman International Scholarship is an enormous honor,” he said. “As a husband and father, financial roadblocks were always the strongest deterrent for studying abroad. The Gilman International Scholarship has erased those concerns for me, making my studies in Germany possible. I am excited and proud to represent my family, Western Kentucky University, and the Gilman program in Germany this upcoming semester.”
Tyler Prochazka, a junior in International Affairs and Asian Religions and Cultures and member of the Chinese Language Flagship Program and the Honors College from Newton, Kan., will be studying Chinese language this summer at Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China.
“The Gilman has been a lifesaver ensuring I would be able to afford to travel to China,” Prochazka said. “With all of the associated costs, it can be quite expensive to travel abroad. When I found out I had received the Gilman thanks to assistance from WKU’s OSD, I was so excited and so grateful to have been given such an incredible opportunity.”
Robert Pugh, a senior in Financial Planning and Sales Marketing from Bowling Green, was awarded a Gilman Scholarship to study finance in Ghent, Belgium, at the University College of Ghent (Hogeschool Gent).
“As a non-traditional student, the Gillman Scholarship will help me reach new heights I never would have never otherwise. Being a single parent it is hard to leave for a semester, but the knowledge and experience gained will be well worth it later when I pass along my experiences to my children.”
Byron Turner, a senior in Political Science from Bowling Green, will be studying the politics of public health and Swahili at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania this summer.
“The Gilman was essential in order to study abroad. The cost of this trip would have been nearly impossible for me to pay without assistance from the Gilman Scholarship,” Turner said.
Students who are interested in the Gilman Scholarship work with Cheryl Kirby-Stokes, coordinator of nationally competitive opportunities for the Office of Scholar Development. With OSD, students are offered one-on-one advising sessions to craft their applications, prepare for interviews, and receive input from a greater audience. Additionally, the Office of Study Abroad and Global Leadership (SAGL) worked with the students to find the right academic program abroad, helping them to have life changing international experiences.
“It was a pleasure working with each of these students, and I look forward to hearing about their successes while abroad,” Kirby-Stokes said. “Helping students find ways to achieve their big dreams is something I love to do.”
The deadline for Gilman scholarship applications for Spring and Winter 2013 programs is Oct. 1. Kirby-Stokes said it is essential to begin the application process early, choosing a program and writing application essays. Contact Study Abroad and Global Learning at (270) 745-5334 and Kirby-Stokes at (270) 745-4191 for advising appointments.
Contact: Cheryl Kirby-Stokes, (270) 745-4191.