NMSU Ranked in Top 10 U.S. Universities for Gilman Scholars

Courtesy of the NMSU news center: http://newscenter.nmsu.edu/Articles/view/11211/twelve-nmsu-students-receive-summer-fall-scholarships-to-study-abroad

Twelve NMSU students receive summer, fall scholarships to study abroad

Twelve students at New Mexico State University have received a total of $38,000 in congressionally funded scholarships to study overseas this summer and fall, surpassing the number of students who received the same scholarship over the past three years.

NMSU theater major Lauren Hurst is studying in Japan as part of NMSU’s Study Abroad program. She received a Gilman Scholarship in the spring to help fund her studies. (Photo by Lauren Hurst)

NMSU theater major Lauren Hurst is studying in Japan under NMSU’s Study Abroad Program. She said being able to attend Japanese events such as Harajuku Fashion Week has helped influence her theatrical designs. (Photo by Lauren Hurst)

NMSU is ranked among the top 10 U.S. universities for the number of recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad.

The program is congressionally funded and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. It is administered by the Institute of International Education in Houston.

In the summer and fall of last year, and in the summer and fall of 2012, eight NMSU students received the Gilman Scholarship. For summer and fall of 2013, five NMSU students received the scholarship.

Clint Hourigan, International Education adviser for NMSU’s Office of Education Abroad, attributes the increase in students winning the scholarships to concentrated workshops that guide students through the application process, and the students’ commitment to the program.

“For them to be able to experience this, it really gets them to step out of their bubble,” Hourigan said. “They gain a lot from it, and it gives students life skills. They become independent, capable able and competent.”

For the summer semester, Jonathan Zayan received $1,000, Joseph Hernandez received $3,000, and Virginia Rodriguez and Mariah Walker each received $2,500. For the fall, Berenice Rivera and Taylor Uselman each received $5,000; Crystal Campos and Kailah Johnson each received $4,500; Romina Garicia, Tulley Trantham and Max Meyer each received $3,000; and Diana Lopez received $1,000.

Meyer will be traveling to Sweden to spend his fall semester studying sustainable development. Meyer’s studies will complement his double major in agricultural extension education and agriculture and community development.

“I’ve been wanting to learn a different perspective. I feel like other cultures have other ways of looking into sustainable development,” said Meyer, who has also received scholarships from the Fund for Education Abroad and the University Studies Abroad Consortium. “This learning opportunity will provide new ideas and information that I can use to promote sustainable development.”

Zayan, a psychology major at NMSU, will be studying in France for six weeks this summer beginning June 27. Zayan said he will concentrate on learning French in order to make himself more marketable for a potential career as an industrial psychologist.

“It’s predicted that in 15 to 20 years, French will be the number one language in the world due to the rising economy in North Africa,” Zayan said. The Study Abroad program at NMSU “definitely helped me a lot. Clint was a great help.”

Meanwhile, NMSU theater major Lauren Hurst is finishing up her studies at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies in Japan. Hurst and eight other NMSU students received Gilman Scholarships for the spring semester.

“I was finishing up college and had one semester left and decided I would go to Japan because I have always been fascinated by the country,” Hurst said. “I plan on sharing my experience with everyone I get the chance to share it with.”

Hurst, like Meyer and Zayan, plans on sharing her experience living abroad with others at NMSU. Hurst said she will set up a booth at the Fall Study Abroad Fair and will give a presentation about Study Abroad and the Gilman Scholarship.

“The NMSU Study Abroad office was always helpful,” Hurst said. “If I ever had a question they would answer it to the best of their ability, (and) they guided me through a lot of the processes and paperwork. They were professional, personable and very knowledgeable.”

According to the Gilman Scholarship program’s website, more than 2,700 scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded this academic year for U.S. citizen undergraduates to study or intern abroad. Award amounts vary depending on the length of study and student need with the average award being about $4,000 for fall and spring programs, and $3,000 for summer programs.

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