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Three W&L Students Awarded Gilman Scholarships to Study Abroad Zach Baldridge ’22, Bri Mondesir ’22 and Blake Sanchez ’23 received the prestigious award.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program recently announced its recipients for this academic year. Three students were accepted from Washington and Lee University.

This year’s recipients include:

  • Zach Baldridge ’22 (to study medical engineering in Tanzania)
  • Bri Mondesir ’22 (to study medical Spanish and public health in the Yucatán in Mexico)
  • Blake Sanchez ’23 (to study with the IES Abroad Summer Health Studies Program in Cape Town, South Africa)

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 awards of 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.

“My hope is always that students view the fellowship application process as an opportunity for growth and self-reflection,” said Matthew Loar, director of fellowships at W&L. “I’m especially proud of the work that Blake, Bri and Zach put into their applications this year. I was so delighted to learn that all three had been named Gilman Scholars, and I’m excited about the adventures they have in store for them this summer.”

In all, Gilman recipients represent 307 colleges and universities across the United States and will study or intern in 87 countries through the end of 2021.

“I cannot explain how excited and honored I am to be chosen as a Gilman Scholar this year, especially since this is the second time I applied for the scholarship,” said Bri Mondesir. “I plan to study abroad in Mexico to study medical Spanish and public health in the Yucatán. I was very excited to find this program because it aligns perfectly with my academic and professional goals.”

All three of W&L’s award recipients are optimistic they will be able to travel this summer. However, given the pandemic’s international travel limitations, the Gilman Program will support students who are unable to start their programs abroad in their original destination or in the original timeframe by helping to identify alternative program options, if necessary. The program will also permit students to defer to a program through the end of 2021, or support participation in a virtual study abroad or international internship program.

“I am incredibly humbled to have been named a Gilman Scholar and to have received the accompanying funds that will cover the costs of my study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa,” said Sanchez. “As part of my program, I will take courses covering a broad range of health-related topics, including kinesiology and endemic diseases. As a first-generation college student, the thought of having the opportunity to study abroad has always seemed improbable. However, because of the Gilman Scholarship, this once-in-a-lifetime experience will soon become a reality.”

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