Six UW-Madison students awarded Gilman Scholarships

The U.S. Department of State announced that six University of Wisconsin–Madison students are among the 1,201 American undergraduate students from 363 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad during the summer 2018.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or international internship program costs with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas. The Gilman Scholarship supports American undergraduate students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad and, since 2001, has enabled more than 25,000 outstanding Americans of diverse backgrounds to engage in meaningful educational experiences abroad. The program has successfully broadened U.S. participation in study abroad, while emphasizing countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study.

UW–Madison awardees, locations of study abroad and internship programs, and majors

  • Moriah Marwitz, Costa Rica, wildlife ecology with a certificate in environmental studies
  • Alexander Villalba, South Africa, anthropology with a certificate in Chican@ and Latin@ studies
  • Christiana Kmecheck, Spain, biology and Spanish
  • Cindy Her, Thailand, nursing with a certificate in global health
  • Sara Thao, Thailand, human development and family studies
  • Meredith Nesbitt, Uruguay, conservation biology and music

Meredith Nesbitt, who is majoring in conservation biology and music, will use the scholarship to participate in a limnology internship in Uruguay arranged through the International Internship Program (IIP). Nesbitt will conduct water research and develop a use plan for a water reservoir. She is the only awardee in the nation travelling to Uruguay.

“It is an amazing opportunity,” Nesbitt said. “I wouldn’t have been able to study abroad without the funding. I am also really grateful to the staff at the IIP office who have created these connections and are already tied into experiences they know will benefit students.”

In additional to gaining professional experience in her field, Nesbitt is eager to improve her Spanish language skills and better understand water use and access in different cultures. She also noted that this experience will serve to bridge the gap between the lessons she learned in the classroom and how they can be put into practice.

“International internships allow students to develop both professional and cross-cultural skills for the workplace,” says Michelle Kern Hall, interim director of IIP. “However, funding is often a barrier so significant scholarships like Gilman help open doors for more students who may not otherwise consider internships or study abroad possible.

The Gilman Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education (IIE).