Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

Four W&L Students Awarded Gilman Scholarships to Study Abroad The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards of up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students who are Pell Grant recipients.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program announced its latest round of recipients for this academic year. Four students were accepted from Washington and Lee University.

This spring’s W&L recipients include:

  • Darya Phillips ’24: to study economics in Copenhagen, Denmark during Winter/Spring 2023.
  • Isaiah “Zay” McGee ’23: to teach and volunteer this summer in Costa Rica.
  • Sarah Burd ’24: to complete a summer internship for a medical technology company in Austria.
  • Sion Jang ’24: to take summer courses in Korean language studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

“With this new group of Gilman Scholars, all 17 of Washington and Lee’s applicants for the Gilman Scholarship in the last two years have received the award,” said Matthew Loar ’07, W&L’s director of fellowships. “This speaks to both our students’ competitiveness for this grant and their diligence in assembling strong applications. I am excited to see what these four scholars do with their time abroad.”

Award recipients can study and intern abroad during the spring, summer, fall, winter or academic year term. Three of the four Gilman recipients will be using their award for summer opportunities. Six W&L students were awarded the Gilman scholarship during Fall Term 2021.

Phillips, who is majoring in accounting and economics, will use hers to complete economics coursework in Copenhagen during the next academic year. Phillips grew up in Atlanta and attended Chamblee High School in Chamblee, Georgia.

“To me, being awarded this opportunity will realize my dream of finally studying abroad,” said Phillips. “I have always wanted to be able to travel abroad but have not had a lot of chances to do so. Getting to experience a different culture, institution and environment firsthand is a challenge I’m thrilled to take on, and it will give me a fresh perspective on life once I return to the United States.”

Jang, a math major,  is excited for the opportunity to deepen her connection with her Korean heritage and language this summer, especially since visiting the country will allow her to reconnect with family as well. Jang grew up in Alvin, Texas, and attended Alvin High School.

“Because I was born in the U.S. and my family was unable to afford a family trip to Korea, I have only been to Korea once by myself and saw my family there for the first and last time when I was 11 years old,” Jang said. “This is such an exciting moment for me and I am very thankful to everyone who has helped and encouraged me along the way.”

Burd, who is studying integrated engineering with an emphasis in biology at W&L, will spend her summer in Austria interning for Saphenus Medical Technology, a company whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those who have lost their feelings in their legs due to amputation or polyneuropathy. Burd looks forward to returning to campus in time to prepare to serve as a trip leader for the Appalachian Adventure pre-orientation experience and said she is excited to share her experience abroad with other students interested in the opportunities presented by the Gilman Scholarship Program.

“The Gilman Scholarship will allow me to travel abroad, which is something I’ve never done before,” Burd said, “and pursue an internship that will put me on track for my career path without the stress of financial burden.” Burd grew up in Salisbury, Massachusetts, and attended Triton Regional High School in Byfield, Massachusetts.

McGee is looking forward to working as an assistant English teacher at the Escuela Cacique Nicoa elementary school in Costa Rica and plans to volunteer on a turtle reserve through the Asociación de Voluntarios para el Servicio en Áreas Protegidas during the final two weeks of his stay. A Williamsburg, Virginia, native who attended Jamestown High School, McGee is pursuing a pre-physical therapy track in addition to studying Romance language, literature and linguistics.

Since the inception of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program in 2001, more than 33,000 scholarships have been awarded to students participating in study abroad programs and internships around the world.

The Gilman Scholarship Program, named for retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, seeks to diversify the kinds of students who study or intern abroad and the countries and regions they visit by offering up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students who are Pell Grant recipients. The scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Institute of International Education administers the program.

If you know a W&L student who has done great, accolade-worthy things, tell us about them! Nominate them for an accolade.