Four UW–Madison students receive Gilman Scholarships to study abroad

Four University of Wisconsin–Madison students are among more than 700 undergraduates from 341 colleges and universities across the United States awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, for study abroad during the spring 2014 semester.

Each Gilman Scholar receives up to $5,000 to apply towards study abroad program costs.  The program aims to diversify the population of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go.  Students receiving a federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in an international internship for academic credit are eligible.

The latest group of Gilman Scholars from UW–Madison – each listed here with hometown, year in college and major, university abroad, and location – are:

  • Ariel Ausmer, of Evanston, IL, senior,  sociology, criminal justice, and legal studies, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • Cassondra Lee, of Racine, WI, senior, elementary education with a Spanish minor, UW Student Teaching in Uganda, Kasese, Uganda
  • Alyssa Schmirler, of Milwaukee, WI, senior, anthropology and psychology, UW in India, Varanasi, India
  • Carly Vinkavich, of Franksville, WI, senior, political science and environmental studies, Ceiba Tropical Conservation Semester: Galapagos, Andes, and Amazon, Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador

“Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates,” says Benjamin A. Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee. “Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience.  It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

“International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries,” says Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE), which administers the program. “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.”

– by Kerry G. Hill