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Grand Valley students earn prestigious Gilman study abroad scholarships

  • Roy Herpin stands with a group of students at a school in Tanzania.
  • Elayne Vaugn stands on a beach next to the ocean.
  • Emily Konen
  • Holly Miller
  • Jaedah Pickens
  • Sultan Hubbard
  • Nhy Nguyen
  • Jasmine Bruce
  • Jennifer Polasek
  • Chloe Lalonde
  • Sunnie Wiswell

Posted on April 18, 2017

Nearly two dozen Grand Valley State University students were selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for terms during the 2016-17 academic year to help fund opportunities to study abroad.

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. 

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply.

Scholarship recipients 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.

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

Summer '16 (4,627 applicants, 1,197 American undergraduate students awarded from 377 colleges and universities):

Roy Herpin, Secondary Education/Mathematics/Psychology, Tanzania

Elayne Vaughn, Communication Studies/Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ghana

Amber Sackett, French/Arabic/Middle Eastern Studies, France

Shukri Bana, Women and Gender Studies/English, South Africa

Vanesha Blackburn, Sociology/Nonprofit Administration, Ghana

Emily Konen, Therapeutic Recreation, Ireland

Holly Miller, Chinese Studies, China

Jaedah Pickens, Psychology/Sociology/African American Studies, Ghana

Sultan Hubbard, Psychology/African American Studies, Ghana

Nhu Nguyen, Biomedical Sciences/Chemistry, Ghana

Deandreah Hollowell, Women and Gender Studies, South Africa

Jasmine Bruce, Studio Art/Illustration, China

Julia Dang, Secondary Education/English/Psychology, Ghana


Fall '16 (2,900 applicants, 860 American undergraduate students awarded from 324 colleges and universities):

Jennifer Polasek, Writing/Advertising and Public Relations, Poland

Chloe Lalonde, Allied Health Sciences/German, Germany

Sunnie Wiswell, Biomedical Sciences/German/Chemistry, Germany


Winter '17 (2,700 applicants, 860 American undergraduate students awarded from 359 colleges and universities):

Vanessa Crambell, Social Work, Australia

Antoinette Jackson, Psychology/African American Studies, Ghana

Amber Modena, International Relations/Spanish/Psychology, Spain

Travis Taylor, Biology/History, Australia


The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). 

For more information on competitive scholarships and fellowships, visit