Two Seahawks Awarded the State Department’s Gilman International Scholarship

Friday, September 09, 2022

Two Seahawks were awarded the U.S. Department of State's Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The scholarship provides financial support for students who want to study abroad or participate in international internships.

Grants enable students who demonstrate financial need to take advantage of opportunities to study or work as interns in other countries. The program offers up to $5,000 to help students offset costs.

Daniel Cortazar, a chemistry major with minors in neuroscience and Spanish, studied at the Universidad de Valencia in Spain this summer, taking courses in the Spanish language, Catalonian culture and history, as well as STEM courses in Spanish. Jaylen Peacox, an English major with an environmental science minor, studied in London's AIFS Sustainable City program this summer. She took classes in sustainability, urban livability and impacts on communities, and the history of diversity in the United Kingdom.

According to the program's website, the Gilman scholarship enables students to gain proficiency in diverse languages, cultures and skills. The program encourages students to study and intern in diverse countries and world regions and to study languages, especially critical-need languages.

"The Gilman awards are important because they incentivize and challenge students to think through the education abroad experience before it happens and get those thoughts down on paper as part of the application," said Dr. Michael Wilhelm, associate provost of global partnerships and international education at UNCW. "Students are motivated to articulate goals and outcomes. Pushing boundaries in terms of location or language is rewarded."

Wilhelm added that the award's significance had not been affected tremendously by COVID, as the U.S. Department of State and the Gilman Program quickly recognized the eligibility of virtual programming and recently eliminated the program length requirement to qualify.

"This benefits UNCW applicants on short-term programs during the academic semesters and participants on faculty-led programs in the summer as well," said Dr. Wilhelm. "I also would like to thank Dr. Brian Chandler, associate professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, who advises students on their Gilman essays."

--Venita Jenkins