Five Students Receive U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to Study Abroad

2018 Gilman Scholars

MACON – The U.S. Department of State recently announced that five Mercer University students are among nearly 1,000 American undergraduates from 386 colleges and universities selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad this year.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas.

Junior Sa’Haara-Jade Bryant, a global health studies major from Albany, will participate in an internship program in South Africa. Junior Timothy Hood, a computer engineering major from Lawrenceville, will participate in a Mercer On Mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Junior Donald Williams, an international business major from Columbus, will study Spanish in Spain. Sophomore Ariel Daniels, a political science major from Milledgeville, will study Arabic in Morocco. Sophomore Danielle Loving, a chemistry major from Byron, will participate in a Mercer On Mission trip to Peru.

“The Gilman Scholarship is an ideal opportunity for Mercer students to participate in study abroad programs or Mercer On Mission,” said Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English and director of fellowships and scholarships. “We want all of our students to engage in these transformative learning experiences, and the Gilman Scholarship makes it possible for students with significant financial need to participate.”

“Mercer has a large number of Pell Grant recipients, so this year the Office of International Programs (OIP) wanted to increase awareness of this prestigious award,” added Elizabeth Dille, associate director of international programs. “Together with Dr. Davis, OIP implemented various workshops to encourage more students to apply and to craft stronger application essays. This coupled with a particularly strong cohort of students produced an unprecedented number of Gilman Scholars at Mercer. We are very excited to see so many deserving students have the opportunity to study abroad.”

The Gilman Scholarship has enabled more than 25,000 outstanding Americans of diverse backgrounds to engage in a meaningful educational experience abroad. The program has successfully broadened U.S. participation in study abroad, while emphasizing countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study.

The late Congressman Gilman, for whom the scholarship is named, served in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee. When honored with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002, he commented, “Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but adds an enriching social and cultural experience. 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.”

The Gilman Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Students who were not selected for a summer 2018 Gilman Scholarship on the early application cycle may apply again during the regular cycle, which is open until March 6.

About the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

The mission of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States. ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges. For more information about ECA programs, initiatives and achievements, visit

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IIE) works with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices and affiliates worldwide and more than 1,300 member institutions.