Six St. John’s University undergraduates are recipients of the US Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a highly competitive program that makes it possible for students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad.
“We are thrilled to have such a high number of awardees for the Spring 2023 term. Clearly, our students continue to impress the Gilman committees,” said Anna Torres, Coordinator of Study Abroad Academics and Scholarships, in the Office of International Education (OIE)–Outbound Programs, at St. John’s. Ms. Torres and Bianca Sylvain, Assistant Director of Outbound Student Services, guided the students through the rigorous application process for the Gilman scholarship.
The scholarship is administered by the Institute for International Education on behalf of the US Department of State. The program is designed to broaden the student population that studies and interns abroad by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate because of financial constraints. It aims to encourage students to study and intern in a diverse array of countries or areas and world regions.
Dakota Ashton, a junior who is majoring in Legal Studies at The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies, will be in Paris, France, from February 25 until March 4 as part of a short-term program called “Litigation Practice in Paris,” during which she will examine the differences between the American and French litigation systems.
Noting she plans to become a lawyer, Dakota said, “I have always dreamed about advocating for those who are misrepresented and have not always been given a voice in society, especially in marginalized communities. I understand the feeling of being voiceless and misunderstood in society, and I want to help others with similar experiences. Lawyers must work with clients of different backgrounds and values, and my visit to Paris will open me up to this in a new way.”
“Receiving this scholarship will enhance my academic career by allowing me to challenge my prior knowledge of the American legal system and apply it internationally,” she added.
In aiding undergraduate students who have high financial need, the program is successfully buttressing those who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad, including but not limited to first-generation college students, ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities or other minority-serving institutions, students attending community colleges, rural students, and students coming from US states with less study abroad participation.
The other five St. John’s students who earned a Gilman scholarship are
Gilman scholarship winner Arya Singh, a Pharm.D. candidate, is taking part in St. John’s Western Europe Pharmacy program until May 12, traveling to Paris, France, Rome, Italy, and Limerick, Ireland.
“Being a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship this year is an incredibly significant accomplishment for me because it will enable me to explore the social cultures in central European cities while furthering my academic career,” Arya said. “I will travel internationally and, simultaneously complete pharmaceutical courses to learn more about this field from a global point of view.”
“I believe this study abroad program will help me become more culturally competent through my observation of different languages, traditions, cultural barriers, and more,” she added. “It will supplement my skillset in my pharmaceutical career by broadening my perspective and capabilities as a future health-care provider.”