Junior Simran Khoja Receives Prestigious Gilman Scholarship from U.S. Department of State


MACON – Mercer University junior Simran Khoja was recently selected by the U.S. Department of State to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Khoja, a double-major in economics and math from Lilburn, was among nearly 1,000 undergraduate students from 386 colleges and universities across the country selected to receive this year's Gilman Scholarships. She is studying abroad in Hong Kong.

“I've known I wanted to study abroad since I was very young. I have always loved traveling and learning about different cultures, so I am excited to live in Hong Kong and make it my home for a year,” said Khoja, who also traveled to Ecuador last summer as part of a Mercer On Mission trip.

Khoja, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics, is a Tift Scholar, brother of Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity, sister of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and member of Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society, Omicron Delta Epsilon international economics honor society and Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society.

She has been on the University's President's List each of the past three semesters and served as a peer tutor for the Academic Resource Center.

“As a professor of economics, I have interacted with many undergraduate students, but Simran definitely stands apart,” said Dr. Antonio Saravia, assistant professor of economics and director of the BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism. “She is an excellent student. She took two of my courses, including a Mercer On Mission class in Ecuador. Not only did she get an A in both courses, but the dedication, interest and enthusiasm she showed in her work were outstanding and contagious. I am very happy for her and have no doubt that she will take full advantage of this opportunity.”

The Gilman Scholarship, since 2001, has enabled more than 24,000 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.

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.

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. For more information, visit gilmanscholarship.org.