UW students studying abroad in 2014 receive advice, scholarships

University of Wisconsin–Madison students preparing to embark on a variety of international programs gathered December 4, 2013 at the Pyle Center – joined by family and friends – to hear words of encouragement and to receive scholarships to help pay their way.

More than 130 undergraduates – most going abroad during the winter intersession or spring 2014 semester – were honored at the Fall 2013 Study Abroad Scholarship Award Ceremony, hosted by the Division of International Studies, International Academic Programs (IAP), and International Internship Program (IIP). More than $265,000 in scholarship awards were announced.

“Study abroad is such a transformative experience for students, we are truly grateful to the donors and alumni who provide the scholarships that make it possible for students to participate,” says IAP Director Dan Gold, who served as emcee for the ceremony.

“It is wonderful to have this opportunity to meet and honor the students, and their families,” Gold says. “It is great sharing their excitement about the journeys they are about to embark on.”

He adds, “It allows me to reflect on my own experiences abroad and the impact it had on my own professional and academic development as they embark on their own journeys.”

During his keynote remarks, Charles Snowdon, emeritus professor of psychology and chair of IAP’s Faculty Advisory Committee, talked about his own international experiences and encouraged the students to make the most of their experiences.

Hannah Roliff and Bri Moritz, two students who recently studied abroad, also had advice for their peers headed overseas.

“Studying abroad is one of the best choices you can make to set yourself up for success in the future,” says Roliff, who went on the UW in Paris, France program during the 2013 spring semester.

“You will experience a lot of personal growth and people will be very proud of your accomplishment. Because of that, take full advantage of the opportunity and get as much as you can out of it. You’re only abroad for a limited period of time,” says Roliff, a senior majoring in social welfare and French.

“Soak in every single moment,” says Moritz, who spent part of the summer of 2013 in Beijing on the Chinese Feng Shui, Design, and Culture program. “Use all five senses – while basic, it’s amazing how quick we are to forget that we have five of them.”

Moritz, a junior majoring in interior design and art history, explains: “Look at the culture, watch how people interact, observe the beautiful faces of the elderly and youth, and feel free to notice all similarities and differences. Taste every food, and don’t judge it by appearance first. Smell the city, or the crops, or the rain, and notice the way that even the environment takes on a different scent. Hear the cars, the way pets make noises, and eavesdrop on conversations (even if you don’t understand the language), appreciating the verbal interactions. Touch the various silks, shake hands with new people, and don’t cling so hard to your camera.”

She adds, “You can’t possibly take in your country simply through sight. Remembering to use my senses, to me, was the most important thing to remember when I traveled to my country.”

Related: Scholarships to give boost to UW students headed overseas for spring 2014 internships

Slideshow of recipients at scholarship ceremony

Here are the scholarship descriptions and recipients recognized at the fall 2013 ceremony:

The Cerk Family Fund for Study Abroad, established by Norman J. and Heewon B. Cerk, to support undergraduate study abroad experiences. Norman (B.A. ‘94 in political science) regards his study abroad experience as a UW–Madison student as a factor in his success.

  • Recipient: Ashley Kreis, of Hartford WI, studying in England

The Chou Kuo-ping Award honors the UW–Madison faculty member who taught Chinese language here in the mid-1960s and organized opportunities for students to study in Taiwan. This scholarship was created by a former student – Tom Sternberg, of White Plains, NY – to support study in Chinese-speaking countries.

  • Recipients: Jeffrey Cohen, of New York NY, studying in China; Samantha Moritz, of Oshkosh WI, studying in Taiwan; and Karl Wichman, of Saint Paul MN, studying in China

The Dorothy E. Paull Scholarship Fund – established in 1984 – is awarded to students with a particular interest in public service to contribute to the greater good of the communities where they study and live while abroad.

  • Recipients: Alyssa Willman, of Manitowoc WI, studying in Mexico; and William Zolecki, of South Milwaukee WI, studying in Brazil

The First-Year Interest Group (FIG) Study Abroad Scholarship – established in 2013 – provide support for students enrolled in FIGs to study abroad, and are made possible by the Schoenleber Foundation and UW–Madison Office of Diversity and Climate.

  • Recipients who are studying in Ecuador (UW Ceiba Rainforest Ecology Field Expedition FIG) during the winter 2014 intersession are: Lauren Atonio, of Wausau WI; Joel Cryer, of Madison WI; Alyssa Daniels, of Freedom WI; Teal Guetschow, of Sheboygan WI; Nicholas Hill, of Wauwatosa WI; Hannah Paulson, of Manitowoc WI; Mariela Paz, of Glen Ellyn IL; Colleen Schmit, of Madison WI Rose Uhen, of Burlington WI; Ashley Zenner, of Pleasant Prairie WI
  • Recipients who are studying in Costa Rica (UW First Year Spanish Program FIG) during the winter 2014 intersession are: Eleanor Gehin, of Madison WI; Nicole Pandl, of New Berlin WI; Lucero Serna, of Milwaukee WI

The IAP Merit-Based Scholarship recognizes students with high academic achievement (minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA).

  • Recipients: Bryce Aul, of Rice Lake WI, studying in Ecuador; Alison Benda, of Wisconsin Rapids WI, studying in Costa Rica; Robert Bockstruck, of Mendota Heights MN, studying in Spain; Caroline Cooney, of Rockville MD, studying in France; Alexandra Dyer, of Madison WI, studying in Italy; Holly Erbstoesser, of Van Dyne WI, studying in Costa Rica; Andrew Greenberg, of Northbrook IL, studying in Italy; Jessica Hedrick, of Bloomington MN, studying in Italy; Yu-Hsi Huang, of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, studying in Japan; Shannon Kelly, of Franksville WI, studying in England; Victoria Larkin, of Waconia MN, studying in Spain; Kirsten Lee, of Madison WI, studying in France; Joe Liverseed, of Madison WI, studying in Germany; Sarah Lowery, of Brooklyn WI, studying in Italy; Jonathan McHugh, of Madison WI, studying in India; Samantha Moritz, of Oshkosh WI, studying in Taiwan; Jacob Perlson, of Deerfield IL; Jennifer Rosenwasser, of Northbrook IL, studying in Israel; Ashley Schneider, of Brookfield IL, studying in Guatemala; Jessica Schwartz, of West Bend WI, studying in Argentina; Chloe Shmays, of Tomah WI, studying in South Africa; Sigrid Stensvold, of Ladysmith WI, studying in Italy; Johnna Sundberg, of Wayzata MN, studying in Kenya; Samantha Timm, of Elm Grove WI, studying in England; Caitlyn Tracy, of Wausaukee WI, studying in Russia; Austin Yantes, of Saint Michael MN, studying in Ecuador; Bo Zhang, of Jinan, China, studying in Costa Rica

The IAP Scholars Award – established in 2013 – aims to break down the financial barriers to study abroad, especially for first-generation college students, those going abroad for the first time, honors students, and majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. All IAP Scholars must carry out a “Share Your Experience” project upon their return to campus.

  • Recipients: Lauren Anderson, of De Forest WI, studying in Kenya; Dylan Braun, of Muskego WI, studying in Germany; Kaylee Carpenter, of Maple Grove MN, studying in Singapore; Alyssa Daniels, of Freedom WI, studying in Ecuador; Henry Erdman, of Minnetrista MN, studying in Italy; Eleanor Gehin, of Madison WI, studying in Costa Rica; Kelsey Jashinsky, of Milwaukee WI, studying in South Africa; Samantha Jorgensen, of Madison WI, studying in Brazil; Kailin Kauffman-Jewell, of Madison WI, studying in Peru; Edward Knudsen, of Olympia WA, studying in Czech Republic; Cassondra Lee, of Racine WI, studying in Uganda; Carly Malave, of Downers Grove IL, studying in South Africa; Lina Nguyen, of Milwaukee WI, studying in Australia; Nicole Pandl, of New Berlin WI, studying in Costa Rica; Kelly Parrell, of Black Earth WI, studying in Thailand; Patricia Paskov, of Brookfield WI, studying in Thailand; Hannah Paulson, of Manitowoc WI, studying in Ecuador; Nicole Romero, of North Easton MA, studying in Australia; Mary-Katharine Schreiber, of Eagle WI, studying in France; Anne Vandenburg, of Janesville WI, studying in Costa Rica; Carly Vinkavich, of Franksville WI, studying in Ecuador; Ashley Zenner, of Pleasant Prairie WI, studying in Ecuador

The IAP Study Abroad Scholarship – based on the belief that study abroad is an important educational opportunity that should be available for all interested students – was created in order to make study abroad opportunities more widely available.

  • Recipients: Gabriella Garner, of New York NY, studying in Turkey; Laura Gildenstern, of Kenosha WI, studying in Austria

The International Studies Dean’s Scholars Scholarship – established in 2013 – promotes study abroad and aims to supplement the resources available through the generosity of donors.

  • Recipients: Stephanie Coleman, of Apple Valley MN, studying in Italy; Katherine Csizmadia, of Wauwatosa WI, studying in France; Zoe Dixon, of Oconomowoc WI, studying in France; Keara Hallberg, of Madison WI, studying in India; Alaina Heinen, of Stillwater MN, studying in South Africa; Brianna Lange, of Eagan MN, studying in England; Kimberly Lieberman, of Deerfield IL, studying in England; Emma Lopez, of Chicago IL, studying in Italy; Elaine Luong, of Madison WI, studying in France; Daniel Martin, of Stratford CT, studying in Taiwan; Cassidy Sandoval, of Baraboo WI, studying in France; Alyssa Schmirler, of Milwaukee WI, studying in India; Amber Williquette, of Greenleaf WI, studying in Spain

The Great People – International Studies Scholarship aims to make study abroad for undergraduates accessible and affordable, just as the UW Foundation’s Great People Scholarship helps to ensure that no student accepted to the university will be turned away for financial reasons.

  • Recipients: Stacey Duncan, of Fall Creek WI, studying in Costa Rica; Jessica Gartzke, of Waterford WI, studying in Southeast Asia; Madison Hartup, of Baraboo WI, studying in Southeast Asia; Rachel Her, of Madison WI, studying in Costa Rica; Hamp Johnson, of Madison WI, studying in England; Dianne Kilgas, of Appleton WI, studying in Costa Rica; Sarah Kuelbs, of Clements MN, studying in Costa Rica; Houa Lee, of Sheboygan WI, studying in Costa Rica; Alexandra Little, of Batavia IL, studying in Southeast Asia; Samantha Patti, of Germantown WI, studying in Southeast Asia; Chelsea Peterson, of Middleton WI, studying in Southeast Asia; Chinou Vang, of Milwaukee WI, studying in Southeast Asia; Lucy Yang, of Milwaukee WI, studying in Thailand

The Morton and Lena Wax Scholarship – established by their children as a tribute to their parents – is awarded as an expression of appreciation for the excellent education family members have received at UW–Madison.

  • Recipient: Marie Renaud, of Merrill WI, studying in Ghana

The ScanDesign Study Abroad Fellowship – established in 2010 by Inger and Jens Brunn of the ScanDesign Foundation, Seattle – aims to foster Danish-American relations by providing generous financial support to undergraduate and graduate students who have been accepted to study in Denmark for a semester or a full academic year through any of UW–Madison’s Danish study abroad programs.

  • Recipients: Kathleen Cashin, of Elm Grove WI; Kristen Chalich, of Wrenshall MN; Dylan Fiedler, of Lake Geneva WI; Ryan Gesme, of Milwaukee WI; Quinn Heck, of Clear Lake MN; Amber Kiefer, of Menasha WI; Samuel Mergendahl, of Rothschild WI; Molly Occhino, of Green Bay WI; Gabriel Orduna, of Madison WI; Alexander Reed, of Basking Ridge NJ; Laura Salmon, of Minneapolis MN; Courtney Severson, of Rochester MN; Eileen Tublin, of Stamford CT; Jane Wierdsma, of Elm Grove WI

The School of Education Study Abroad Scholarship – supported by alumni – is awarded to undergraduates in the School of Education, with priority for first-time study abroad students and those participating in programs in Africa, Asia, or Latin America.

  • Recipients: Gabriela Geary, of Lakeville MN, and Cynhia Hsu, of Northbrook IL, both doing student teaching in Mexico

The Study Abroad Alumni Scholarship – supported by UW–Madison alumni and friends – provides direct assistance toward increasing the number and diversity of students studying overseas.

  • Recipients: Janel Herrera, of New York NY, studying in Italy; Emily Mcallister, of Edgerton WI, studying in Costa Rica; Courtney Riley, of Alexandria VA, studying in Costa Rica; Bryant Robles-Melgoza, of Milwaukee WI, studying in Costa Rica; Janaina Rodriguez, of Madison WI, studying in Costa Rica; Melissa Sargent, of Cedarburg WI, studying in Costa Rica; Mckenna West, of Mukwonago WI, studying in Costa Rica

— by Kerry G. Hill