MACON – The U.S. Department of State announced that four Mercer University students are among around 1,000 American undergraduates selected last week to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad this summer.
Mercer, which was recognized in March as a Gilman Greatest Growth Institution, has a total of 15 Gilman Scholars selected during the 2018-2019 academic year with the recent additions of Dwayne Brown, Musab Gulzar, Amina Mohamed and Tianna Ross.
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.
“As Gilman Scholars, these students will have the opportunity to participate in transformative study abroad experiences,” said Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English and director of fellowships and scholarships. “Mercer’s success with Gilman Scholarship applications reflects both the caliber of our students and the quality of our international programs.”
Brown is a junior computer science major. He serves as art editor of The Dulcimer literary magazine and was recognized by the College of Liberal Arts with the Outstanding Sophomore Majoring in Computer Science Award.
He will participate in a Mercer On a Mission trip to South Africa to teach computer skills to middle-schoolers in Durban and Cape Town.
“I feel honored that the Gilman Scholarship has given me the critical help I needed to follow through with my mission to empower others with creating by computational and artistic means,” said Brown.
Gulzar, from Warner Robins, is a junior biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) major with a minor in chemistry.
He will participate in a Mercer On Mission trip to Vietnam to fit prosthetics for amputees, where his responsibilities will include fitting orthotic braces, providing physical therapy for patient rehabilitation and assisting a pharmacist with dispensing medication.
“I am excited for the opportunity that the Gilman scholarship has provided me. Without the help of my friends and Dr. Ashley Buchanan, I would not be in this position,” said Gulzar.
Mohamed, from Windsor, New York, is a junior philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) major with minors in English, Spanish and mathematics. She is a member of Mercer’s Model Arab League, Phi Sigma Tau philosophy honor society and Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority Inc.
She will participate in a faculty-led study abroad trip to Athens, Greece, to study philosophy and art in the shadow of the Acropolis.
“Traveling to Greece has been a dream of mine since I was a kid reading Percy Jackson,” said Mohamed. “I wouldn’t be going to Greece if it weren’t for the Gilman, and I don’t think I would’ve even applied for the Gilman if Dr. (Charlotte) Thomas and Cameron Kunzelman hadn’t encouraged and supported me through the whole process. Thank you both for making me feel like I had a chance.”
Ross, from Douglasville, is a criminal justice major with a minor in Spanish. She is involved with several sustainability groups on campus.
She will participate in a faculty-led study abroad trip to Seville, Spain, where students will travel to various cities and emerge themselves fully into the Spanish-speaking culture.
“I feel extremely honored and blessed to receive this scholarship,” said Ross.
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).
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 eca.state.gov.
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.