Three Elizabethtown College students, sophomore Japanese major Jacob Schell, sophomore Sociology-Anthropology major Emma Nalesnik, and junior Japanese and Asian Studies major Ariel Hampton, were recently awarded the highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, giving them financial support to study abroad within the next year. Furthermore, Ariel was the College’s first ever Gilman Critical Need Language Award recipient, earning her an additional $3,000 scholarship to study Japanese abroad.
Since the Gilman Scholarship program began in 2001, Etown has seen 19 recipients selected, including this year’s winners. Etown’s Gilman recipients have studied abroad in 10 different countries: The Gambia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
As a part of their mission to support all students who are interested in studying abroad during their time at Etown, the Study Abroad Office has made it a priority to promote this opportunity, incentivize applicants, and provide students with helpful writing tips for drafting strong essays. Gilman applicants also work with the Office of Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships to strengthen their application.
“Helping students apply for and then ultimately receive these competitive scholarships is a highlight of my job! It’s incredibly rewarding to see our students’ hard work pay off in a big way,” said Megan Bell, the College’s Study Abroad Advisor, who previously served as a reviewer for the Gilman Scholarship.
Nalesnik is grateful for the help she received from the Study Abroad Office and the Office of Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships while completing her application:
“Both of these offices were extremely helpful in this process,” she said. “I had meetings with Dr. Benowitz (Director of Special Programs and Prestigious Scholarships & Fellowships) all throughout the summer. He helped me break down the essays and eventually put them together. Megan Bell in the Study Abroad Office also was extremely helpful, as she has worked with the Gilman Scholarship many times. She was able to help me understand what they were looking for in the essays.”
All three students are planning to study abroad during the summer or fall of 2021 once travel restrictions from the pandemic have lifted. Schell is planning to study abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan, where he is excited to learn more about Japanese culture by taking classes in music and art. Nalesnik is planning to study in Limerick, Ireland, and Hampton is planning to study at KCP International in Tokyo, Japan.
The Gilman Scholarship
The Gilman Scholarship Program reviewed over 1,500 applicants for the October 2020 Deadline, and more than 900 outstanding students were offered awards to participate in credit-bearing study and intern abroad programs.
The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students of limited financial means (i.e. Federal Pell Grant recipients) to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. The Institute of International Education has administered the program since its inception in 2001. You can learn more about the program here.
Applying for the Gilman Scholarship
Students interested in applying for the Gilman Scholarship should reach out to the Study Abroad Office for assistance in building a strong application. Along with this guidance, students should review the Gilman Scholarships’ resources and ensure they allow adequate time to write and revise essays before the deadlines. The essay prompts are online, so you can begin drafting your essays before Gilman accepts applications for your term of interest.
Please note, the Gilman Scholarship recently revised their application deadlines, so students now have two opportunities to apply. If students are awarded the scholarship in the first application cycle, they know their scholarship winnings months prior to departure and can determine if they can afford to study abroad. If not selected for the award, students have a second opportunity to apply!
All students who apply for the Gilman Scholarship will automatically have their Etown study abroad fee waived (value of $250). Students must be eligible for the Gilman to receive the waiver. They do not need to be selected for the award to receive the waiver.
Jacob, Emma and Ariel’s accomplishment were also highlighted in an Etown NOW article. Congratulations again, Jacob, Emma and Ariel!
*Article Updates – May 2021
Jacob Schell – Japanese Major
As of May 2021, Jacob still intends to go to Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan for the 2021-22 academic year. The university intends to announce by mid-June, if the fall 2021, in-person program will be running due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and border entry restrictions for international travelers.
Emma Nalesnik – Sociology/Anthropology Major
Emma originally intended to study abroad in Limerick, Ireland for the fall 2021 semester. Due to ongoing concerns associated with the pandemic, Emma decided not to study abroad in-person. Fortunately, the Gilman Scholarship Program is allowing awardees to use the funding for an in-person or virtual, international education experience anytime in 2021. As of May 2021, Emma is currently pursuing a fall 2021, virtual, international internship with USAC, focused on sociology research.
Ariel Hampton – Japanese & Asian Studies Major
Ariel was originally planning on studying abroad at KCP International for the 2020-21 academic year. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled her program. She then pursued KCP’s summer 2021 program, which was also sadly canceled due to the ongoing pandemic and border entry restrictions for international travelers entering Japan. Fortunately, the Gilman Scholarship Program is allowing awardees to use the funding for an in-person or virtual, international education experience anytime in 2021. As of May 2021, she is pursuing a summer 2021, virtual international internship with ISEP in translation.