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23 Grand Valley students awarded competitive Gilman Scholarships

  • AJ Carter
  • Andrew Jones
  • Bailey Webb
  • Cameron Zbikowski
  • Crystal Juarez
  • Jessica Knoertzer
  • Justice Briggs
  • Krystal Lewis
  • Nicklas Bara
  • Rachel Villafuerte
  • Rebecca Lolonde
  • Theo Randall
  • William Cunningham

Posted on September 24, 2018

23 Grand Valley students were selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to fund study abroad opportunities in the spring, early summer and summer 2018 competitions.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $8,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The award is open to students who receive a Federal Pell Grant and who will be studying or interning abroad for 21 days or longer in host countries with Level 1 or 2 State Department Travel Advisories.

Gilman Scholars have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies, making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

The students were awarded the scholarships from a pool of highly competitive applicants.

These Grand Valley students were awarded the scholarships, and are listed with their hometown, major(s), and country of study:

Christopher Verstrate, Allendale, Michigan; Finance, Australia

Daniel Arnold, Wayland, Michigan; Business Management, Russia/Ukraine

AJ Carter, Royal Oak, Michigan; Computer Science, China

Jessica Knoertzer, Allendale, Michigan; Biomedical Sciences, Peru

Theo Randall, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Art History, Italy

Bailey Webb, Rochester Hills, Michigan; Accounting, Ghana

Antonio Reeves, Spring Lake, Michigan; Multimedia Journalism, South Africa

Jaylene Salas, Detroit, Michigan; Communication Studies, Spain

Justice Briggs, Byron, Michigan; International Business/Accounting, France

Crystal Juarez, Kentwood, Michigan; Biomedical Sciences, Mexico

Krystle Lewis, Williamsburg, Michigan; Hospitality and Tourism Management, Thailand

Rachel Villafuerte, Wyoming, Michigan; Allied Health Sciences, Spain

Cameron Zbikowski, Wyoming, Michigan; Human Resources, Australia

Chance Colter, Wyoming, Michigan; Mathematics, South Korea

Nicklas Bara, Shelby Township, Michigan; Biomedical Sciences, Madagascar

Clara Bernal, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Biomedical Sciences, Ghana

William Cunningham, Chesterfield, Michigan; Business, Morocco

Andrew Jones, Jenison, Michigan; Communication Studies, United Kingdom

Rebecca Lalonde, Charlevoix, Michigan; Legal Studies, Ukraine

Leigh Menard, Holly, Michigan; Anthropology, Oman

Maxwell Okros, Benzonia, Michigan; Biomedical Sciences, Nepal

Alyson Olson, Sparta, Michigan; English, United Kingdom

Jovanni Solis, Holland, Michigan; International Business, France

The Gilman Scholarship ( program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The scholarships, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, are awarded to high-achieving students to help diversify the students who study and serve internships abroad, as well as the regions where they work and study.

To date, more than 160 GVSU students have received Gilman Scholarships.

The next application deadline for Gilman Scholarships is October 2. The October deadline is for programs with start dates between January 1 and August 1, 2019. Any students considering applying for Spring/Summer 2019 programs are encouraged to apply in October, since Gilman award notifications will be made prior to deposit and application deadlines for study abroad programs through Grand Valley's Padnos International Center or outside providers. Students who do not receive early summer funding will also have a second chance to apply in March.

Applications must be certified by the Office of Fellowships and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. For more information or to begin an application, faculty, staff and students can contact

For more information on other competitive scholarships and fellowships, visit