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5 awarded funding from Gilman International Scholarship Program

Five WKU students have been awarded funding through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program that will support them in Spring 2013 study abroad programs around the globe.

Allyson Beasecker of San Diego, Calif.; Haley Edwards of Buffalo, Ky.; Hayley Hilbert of Louisville, Ky.; Christina Paige of Fayetteville, N.C.; and Makka Wheeler of Guthrie, Ky., were each recognized as recipients of this nationally competitive scholarship.

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards of up to $5,000 for study abroad to undergraduates receiving Pell grants. With the intent to increase diversity in study abroad, the program funds travel of underrepresented groups including ethnic minorities; students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and students with disabilities. The program gives preference students traveling to nontraditional destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and offers an additional award of up to $3,000 for those studying critical languages such as Arabic, Japanese and Chinese.

Makka Wheeler, a junior majoring in nursing, will study abroad in Costa Rica studying Spanish and cultural diversity.

“The Gilman Scholarship means the world to me,” she said. “Without it, I really couldn’t afford to study abroad.”

Hayley Hilbert, a sophomore international affairs major, plans to attend law school after graduating from WKU in 2015. She will pursue a career in international law. The scholarship will support her study abroad to Harlaxton College in Grantham, England.

“I feel that my project for the Gilman (researching non-profits abroad) will heighten my experience abroad and allow me to greater global connections that may open doors to larger opportunities in my future endeavors,” she said.

A sophomore majoring in communication studies and Asian religions and cultures, Christina Paige will study Asian religion and culture at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata City, Japan. After graduating from WKU, Paige plans to return to Japan as a member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program to teach English before attending graduate school.

“I plan to make the most of what I have received and use it to further my goals present and future,” she said.

Haley Edwards, a senior English major, will study at Yarmouk University in Irbit, Jordan. Studying Arabic will support her career goal of becoming a translator for classical and modern Arabic literature.

“It’s such an honor to receive this award from the Gilman Program,” she said. “This program provides students with high financial need so many opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Allyson Beasecker, a senior pursuing degrees in English and news/editorial journalism, said she was delighted to receive funding from the Gilman scholarship program. However, due to extenuating circumstances, she is not participating in her chosen international education experience.

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.

“It was a pleasure working with each of these students and I look forward to hearing about their successes while abroad,” she said. “Helping students find ways to achieve their big dreams is something that I love to do.”

The deadline for Gilman scholarship applications for Summer 2013, Fall 2013, and Academic Year 2013-14 programs is March 5. Kirby-Stokes said it is essential to start early to choose a program and write application essays. Contact Study Abroad and Global Learning at 745-5334 and Kirby-Stokes at 745-5043 for advising appointments.

About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping WKU students in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars.  OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in national or international scholarships. For more information, follow OSD on Twitter: @WKU_OSD and on Facebook. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship or other similar opportunities.

Contact: Drew Mitchell, (270) 745-5043.

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