At least one University of Idaho student has won the Gilman International Scholarship each year since 2002. But to have three out of the four UI students who applied win the scholarship – that”s unique, said Holly LaHann, a UI distinguished scholarship coordinator.
“Usually one in three or one in four students win,” LaHann said.
The Gilman International Scholarship strives to assist students receiving the Pell Grant in studying abroad.
This year, UI students Clarisa Lopez, Joshua Warnick and Tyler Mitchell were awarded the Gilman Scholarship.
Something LaHann said she thinks set these students apart was their work with their school advisers.
The students worked with their financial and study abroad advisers, who proof read their applications and offered suggestions for improvements.
Started in 2002, The Gilman Scholarship requires students to write two essays and participate in a follow-up service project upon their return. Gilman prefers students to travel to nontraditional locations and the students must live there for at least four weeks. Being a U.S. citizen and receiving the Pell Grant are the main criteria for the students, allowing a diverse pool of scholarship winners.
Students are awarded up to $5,000 based on the budget they submitted in their application.
Students who are studying a critical need language such as Arabic, Chinese or Japanese, are considered for the Critical Need Language Award up – to $8,000.
The scholarship is not just for students who are studying abroad. It also is available to students who intend to intern abroad.
Lopez, a clothing textile and design major who plans to go to Leon, France, said studying in the fashion capitol of the world is going to be great for her future career goals.
She is also minoring in French and said she wants to become fluent in the language. She also plans on working with the UI Study Abroad Office when she returns by giving prospective and first-hand advice about the scholarship and studying abroad.
Warnick, a mechanical engineering major, said he considered going to France and England before deciding on Morocco. The deciding factor was that Morocco offered engineering courses in English, he said.
Warnick intends on working with the study abroad office to create an articulation agreement that would establish which engineering courses will transfer back to UI.
Not knowing what courses transfer deters a lot of engineering students from studying abroad, Warnick said.
Both Lopez and Warnick began their applications only a few days before they were due and said they recommend future applicants start early.
Lopez said future applicants should work with their financial and study abroad advisers and allow them to proofread the essays. She said students should put a lot of thought into their applications.
“Do it from the heart,” Lopez said. “As cheesy as that sounds.”
Marisa Casella can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @marisacasella1