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Students win nationally competitive scholarships to study abroad

  • Courtney Hart

Posted on February 17, 2012

Two Grand Valley State University students are studying abroad after being awarded prestigious Gilman International Scholarships.

Courtney Hart, a senior history major from Wyoming, Mich., is studying in Taiwan this semester, where she plans to complete a second major in Chinese studies. She developed an interest in the field while completing an East Asian Studies minor.

Shelby DeGalan, a junior double major in international business and marketing from Grand Rapids, is also studying abroad this semester in Taiwan. She is minoring in Chinese language.

Both Hart and DeGalan are participating in the Taiwan Faculty-Led Program at National Taiwan Normal University. Grand Valley professor Curtis Smith leads the study abroad program. Hart says she hopes to continue her education through the Ph.D. level in Chinese Studies.

The students worked with the Padnos International Center, the Financial Aid Office and the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships to prepare components of the Gilman Scholarship application. Both will need to complete a service project within six months of their return to the U.S., which was submitted as part of their application. The goal of the service project is to share the study abroad experience, encourage others to consider studying abroad, and educate others about how to fund study opportunities through competitive fellowships like the Gilman Scholarship.

Grand Valley students are often successful with Gilman Scholarship applications. Since Fall 2010, $64,000 in Gilman Scholarships have been awarded to 17 Grand Valley students, ranking Grand Valley among the top institutions in Michigan for number of recipients. Students apply for the award twice a year, in September and February.

The Gilman Scholarship is a nationally competitive award with about 2,300 scholarships given annually. The upcoming award cycle is expected to be the most competitive yet as a growing number of students are applying for the scholarship. The campus deadline for spring/summer/fall Gilman Scholarship applications is February 23rd. 

The Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships serves Grand Valley students and alumni who are interested in applying for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. Students are encouraged to either stop in during walk-in advising hours held on Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. in Niemeyer Hall, room 120 or call the Frederik Meijer Honors College at (616) 331-3219 to schedule an appointment.

For more information, contact Amanda Cuevas at or visit

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