Five students from The University of Texas at El Paso have been awarded a record amount to study abroad this fall from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. They are among the 10 students who will participate in the program this summer and fall.
The undergraduate students come from the colleges of Science, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Business Administration. The fall scholars received $20,500, which puts the University on track to break the previous record of $59,500 set during the 2012-13 academic year. The maximum award is $5,000 per student.
The summer interns, their majors and their destinations are: Vanessa Diaz, English, Rome, Italy; Ana Guzman, civil engineering, Istanbul, Turkey; Karen Morales, languages and linguistics, Rome, Italy; Larry Owens, languages and linguistics, Shanghai, China; and Mauro Ruiz, biochemistry, Barcelona, Spain.
The fall interns are: Fernando Estrada, anthropology, Amman, Jordan; Pedro Garcia, political science, Amman; Damian Hurtado, accounting, Paris, France; Wendy Soto, psychology, Salamanca, Spain; and Luis Villa, international business and marketing, Shanghai. Almost 20 UTEP students applied for the summer and fall programs.
This is the first year that UTEP students will travel to Shanghai and the first time in several years that Jordan and Turkey are among the destinations.
“Financial constraints are the No. 1 reason students do not participate in these programs, and this scholarship provides a wonderful opportunity for students to earn funding to offset the cost of their programs,” said Niamh Minion, UTEP Study Abroad Office coordinator.
Summer scholar Mauro Ruiz arrived in Spain May 31. He will take business courses to expand the breadth of his knowledge as he is introduced to another culture.
“I see this as a wonderful enrichment experience because it is helping me change the way I approach things,” said Ruiz, a junior. “It is helping me mature, assimilating the different styles of teaching, and more importantly [I’m] learning how to deal with people from all around the world, which is not easy.”
The Gilman scholarship was established in 2000 to help diversify the kinds of students who study abroad. The program encourages students who have been traditionally underrepresented to apply, such as students from minority-serving institutions, students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, students who want to go to nontraditional study abroad destinations, students learning critical needs languages, first-generation college students, students with disabilities, or students from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
“International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries,” said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education, the program’s sponsor. “It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”
The deadline to apply for a spring 2015 Gilman Scholarship is Oct. 7, 2014.