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Six 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 first round of recipients for this academic year. Six students were accepted from Washington and Lee University.

This fall’s W&L recipients included:

  • Celeste Alvarez ’26 to study Latin American migration in Mexico.
  • Kaden Buss ’27 to complete an internship in the Czech Republic.
  • Juyoung Kim ’26 to study Mandarin in Taiwan.
  • Hailey Neaman ’25 to study Indonesian language, art and culture in Indonesia.
  • Joel Sotelo Flores ’27 to study at Yonsei University in South Korea.
  • Augusta Weaver ’26 to study marine ecology in Panama.

“Our students’ continued success with the Gilman Scholarship highlights not only their tenacity and ambition, but their understanding that studying abroad is one of the best ways to cultivate global citizenship,” said Matthew Loar, W&L’s director of fellowships. “I am proud of this cycle’s applicants, and I can’t wait to hear about their transformative experiences abroad.”

Award recipients can study and intern abroad during the spring, summer, fall, winter or academic year term. Ten W&L students were awarded the Gilman Scholarship during the 2022-2023 academic year.

“As a low-income student who has never been abroad, receiving the Gilman Scholarship will allow me to not only travel outside the United States, but further my career goals and aspirations while doing so,” said Buss, who will complete an internship at a non-governmental organization or news agency in Prague, Czech Republic this summer. A native of Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, Buss is pursuing a double major in politics and journalism and a minor in law, justice, and society.

Neaman, a native of Roanoke, Virginia, is a religion and art history double major. They will travel to Indonesia to participate in the School for International Training (SIT) Indonesia: Arts, Religion and Social Change program during the upcoming Winter Term. Neaman will take classes about local art and architecture, religion, social issues, and Indonesian language study, and conduct an independent research project focused on the experience of religious minorities in Indonesia. They also received a Critical Need Language Award to further support their study of Indonesian.

“Being awarded the Gilman Scholarship is an immense honor and privilege, and one I am so grateful for,” Neaman said. “As a low-income first-generation student, I wasn’t sure I would be able to study abroad for a semester in college. This scholarship has provided me with the opportunity to broaden my world views without having to worry about my financial situation.”

Kim will study Mandarin in Taipei, Taiwan, through funding from the Gilman-Taiwan Scholarship, a partnership between the American Institute of Taiwan and the Taipei Economic Cultural Representative Office in support of the Gilman Program.

“I see this scholarship as an important part of my personal journey, as well as my academic career,” said Kim, who is a physics major at W&L. “From moving to the U.S. and struggling with my identity at home and school to coming to terms with those two sides of myself, to now go back to Asia as an American college student with a scholarship from the U.S. government truly feels like a full-circle moment.”

Sotelo Flores, who is also pursuing a physics major, will attend Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea through the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) Summer Korean Studies Program. “I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity to grow and engage with other cultures,” the Willimantic, Connecticut native said.

Weaver will participate in the SIT Panama: Marine Ecology and Blue Carbon Conservation in the Pacific and Caribbean program. A double major in environmental studies and earth and environmental geoscience, Weaver plans to pursue a master’s degree in marine science and is excited about the hands-on experience this summer program will provide.

Alvarez, a sociology major from Hereford, Texas, will complete a homestay in Oaxaca, Mexico while participating in the SIT Mexico: Migration, Borders and Transnational Communities program during the upcoming Winter Term. She will study how economics, violence, labor shortages, the environment, and policy affect Latin American migration, and conduct an independent research project focused on language access during the immigration process.

Alvarez first developed an interest in immigration law after interning with the W&L Immigrants’ Rights Clinic while also taking classes in K’iche’, a Mayan language spoken in the highlands and piedmont of Guatemala and one of the most common indigenous languages in Latin America. “By studying in Mexico, I will further develop my interests and gain hands-on experience outside the traditional setting, and I am excited to have the opportunity to participate in a program that stimulates my academic and professional development,” she said.

Since the inception of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program in 2001, more than 41,000 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.

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