Three WKU students have been honored by the nationally competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.
Demarcus Brooks of Louisville, Linda Cruz of Carrollton and Brianna Stewart of Guston were named Gilman Scholars and will receive up to $5,000 each toward their study abroad or internship program costs.
Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman has awarded scholarships to 800 American undergraduate students from 356 colleges and universities. The Gilman Scholarship Program offers study abroad scholarships to undergraduates receiving Pell grants. The program is intended to increase diversity in study abroad by funding the travel of underrepresented groups including ethnic minorities; students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and students with disabilities. It also funds travel to underrepresented countries, especially those outside western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The strongest applications are written by students who will earn credit applicable to their major field of study while abroad.
Demarcus Brooks, a third-year student majoring in Arabic, is the son of Tenile Brooks. He plans to continue his Middle Eastern studies in Jordan. After graduation, Brooks plans to study international affairs in graduate school at WKU.
Linda Cruz, a second-year student majoring in agriculture, is the daughter of Luz Maria Cruz. She is planning a three-week horticulture study abroad trip to Ireland this summer. After graduation, the Honors College student plans to start her own farm using permaculture practices.
Brianna Stewart, a fourth-year student majoring in Arabic, is the daughter of Nakena Liebig and Arnold Stewart. She plans to use her Gilman Scholarship to broaden her experience with Arabic language and culture by studying in Morocco. After college, she would like to work with refugee or low-income families.
Each of the students worked with the Office of Scholar Development at WKU in preparing their Gilman Scholarship application. Additionally, the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL) worked with the students to find the right academic program abroad, helping them to have life-changing international experiences.
Cheryl Kirby-Stokes, Coordinator of Nationally Competitive Opportunities for the OSD, said the best part of her job is working with highly motivated students who are pursuing their studies in a different cultural context.
“It’s always a pleasure working with Gilman scholarship applicants. Because of the questions asked in the essays, I get to have extended conversations with the students, learning about their big dreams for their future and why they want to pursue study abroad,” she said. “I am almost as happy as the students when I hear they’ve received the scholarship.”
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 nationally competitive scholarships.
About the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL): SAGL serves the WKU community by engaging students, faculty and staff in diverse, educational, and cultural experiences through faculty-led, exchange, consortia and other study abroad opportunities. For information about the Office of Study Abroad, visit www.wku.edu/studyabroad. The office can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (270) 745-5334.
Contact: Cheryl Kirby-Stokes, (270) 745-4191