Seven Students Awarded Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship – College’s Largest Cohort of Recipients

Seven Elizabethtown College students were recently awarded the highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, giving them financial support to study abroad within the 2021-22 academic year. This is the most recipients the College has ever seen in a single application cycle. The previous record was three recipients for the spring 2019 term. The new recipients include the following students.

Academic Year: 2021-22
Caden Robinson ’23 – Spanish major headed to Oaxaca, Mexico

Fall 2021
Michelle Calvo ’22 – Graphic Design major headed to Florence, Italy
Nicole Rodak ’23 – International Business major headed to Seoul, South Korea

Spring 2022
Courtney Westman ’23 – Occupational Therapy major headed to Kimana, Rift Valley, Kenya
Leaslie Alejandres ’23 – International Business major headed to Osaka, Japan
Zoe Goebel ’23 – International Business major headed to Osaka, Japan
Zoe Scheerer ’23 – Psychology major headed to Edinburgh, Scotland

In March 2020, the Gilman Program began accepting applications for the following calendar year, not only the next six months. This allows students the opportunity to apply more than once, beginning nearly one year before their intended departure. The new model, along with additional promotion of the scholarship to students, has resulted in the College’s highest number of recipients per a single academic year. As of May 2021, the College has nine Gilman Scholarship recipients who intend to study abroad during the 2021-22 academic year. The seven most recent recipients are joined by two recipients from the October 2020 deadline. With spring 2022 applications accepted again in October 2021, there’s a chance this overall number of 2021-22 recipients will increase. Previously, the most recipients in a single academic year was four students for the 2009-10 academic year.

Since the Gilman Scholarship program began in 2001, Etown has seen 26 recipients selected, including this year’s winners. Etown’s previous Gilman recipients have studied abroad in 10 different countries: The Gambia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom (England). This year’s recipients represent the first students to study in Italy, Kenya, and South Korea, as well as Scotland in 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 can also work with the Office of Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships to strengthen their application.

Excerpt from the Etown News Article

Recipients of this year’s Scholarships are grateful for the support they received from both offices, including the College’s Study Abroad Advisor Megan Bell, and Director of Special Programs & Prestigious Scholarships, Jean-Paul Benowitz.

“Megan Bell has been nothing short of incredible throughout my entire study abroad journey so far,” said Westman. “From brainstorming programs to researching scholarships, Megan has continued to guide and support me throughout this process.”

“Throughout the application writing process, Professor Benowitz was very kind and helpful in guiding me through the different stages of the application,” said Alejandres. “We had weekly meetings where he offered suggestions and edits to my essays.”

*Bell is proud to say that during her tenure as the Study Abroad Advisor, more than 50 percent of the College’s total Gilman Scholarship recipients were awarded funding. As of June 2021, the College has seen 15 Gilman Scholarship recipients study abroad/intend to study abroad in between spring 2019 – spring 2022. That’s 57% of the College’s overall 26 recipients since the scholarship program’s inception in 2001. Since Bell assumed this role in July 2017, 43% of eligible, submitted Gilman applicants have been awarded the Gilman Scholarship.

“I know how hard these students work to tell their stories in the application’s essays and how much this funding means to them,” said Bell. “It’s a true joy to be able to support them through this process!”

Etown’s previous four Gilman Scholars were unable to study abroad due to travel restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Emma Nalesnik plans on participating in a virtual international internship program for the fall 2021 semester. Ariel Hampton is pursuing a remote internship with a company in Japan this July. Jacob Schell is traveling to Osaka, Japan in spring 2022, while Laura Carr is studying abroad virtually through an internship that is based in Heredia, Costa Rica. 

You can read the complete Etown News Article here.

*This section was corrected and expanded from the original Etown News article excerpt.

The Gilman Scholarship

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is pleased to announce that more than 1,500 U.S. undergraduate students have been selected to receive Gilman scholarship awards from the March 2021 application deadline.

The recipients of this prestigious scholarship are American undergraduate students attending 467 U.S. colleges and represent all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These Gilman Scholars will study or intern in 96 countries in the Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Academic Year 2021-2022, and Spring 2022 terms.

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

Etown 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 amount 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.

Our most recent Gilman Scholarship recipients’ accomplishment were also highlighted in an Etown NOW article. Congratulations again, Caden, Michelle, Nicole, Courtney, Leaslie, Zoe and Zoe!

Photo credit: @gilmanscholarship Instagram Account

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: