The countries of Turkey and Botswana will each welcome a Kansas State University student this spring thanks to nearly $5,000 in total funding from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.
Justine Gruen and Rebecca Wieneke each received a Gilman Scholarship to travel abroad this semester. These scholarships fund study abroad experiences to countries all over the world, but especially to students interested in traveling to less traditional destinations outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Gruen, a junior from Leawood, is majoring in interdisciplinary social sciences and international studies with minors in Spanish and nonprofit leadership. She received a $2,500 Gilman Scholarship to study in Turkey. She said the grant enriches her studies in international topics by providing her with international experience.
“My degree will mean more to me personally and will be more credible with my experience in Turkey,” Gruen said. “I will be using this scholarship toward pursuing knowledge of Eastern culture and history while in Turkey. I want to be a good steward of all the education God has blessed me with.”
Wieneke, from Beverly, is a junior in family studies and human services and received a $2,000 grant to study in Botswana. With aspirations to work in adoption and foster care, Wieneke said her Gilman Scholarship will help her gain the necessary tools to proceed in her future career.
“This scholarship has provided a great opportunity for me to go to Africa where I will be able to grow in knowledge, cultural awareness and self-awareness,” she said. “It’s so important in today’s world to explore other cultures.”
Jim Hohenbary, the university’s assistant dean of nationally competitive scholarships, said this year’s recipients mark 30 Kansas State University students who have received Gilman Scholarships since 2002. While studying abroad, he said Gruen and Wieneke will undertake international experiences that they will be able to draw insight from for years to come.
“The Gilman is a great scholarship because it strives to help students make this kind of opportunity possible, then encourages them to share that international experience with others,” Hohenbary said.
In their scholarship applications, students propose a follow-up project for promoting the Gilman Scholarship and studying abroad upon their return. Scholarship recipients are required to carry out this service project at their home institution or in their home community.
The Gilman Scholarship Program is congressionally funded and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. It was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act, and since 2001 has been offering grants to U.S. citizen undergraduate students to pursue academic studies abroad in hopes of preparing students to assume significant roles in a global economy. Award recipients are chosen through a competitive selection process.