The University of Alabama at Birmingham has been recognized by the United States Department of State as one of the U.S. colleges and universities that sent the most scholars abroad through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program during academic year 2020-2021. The Gilman Scholarship expands access and equity in study abroad and international internship opportunities among U.S. undergraduate students with high financial need, and UAB was honored as a Top Producing School in the Medium size category of a school with 5,000 to 15,000 students.
Since 2020, 30 UAB students have been selected as Gilman Scholars. While these numbers are exceptional and reflective of the high caliber of Blazer students, these remarkably high and consistent numbers came at a time of great turmoil and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are truly honored to be recognized by the U.S. Department of State as a top-producing institution for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program,” said Pam Benoit, Ph.D., senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost. “UAB is proud to support our students in gaining a global perspective of other cultures, languages and economies through access to education and internship abroad opportunities. This distinction demonstrates the caliber of our programs and dedicated staff committed to collaborative partnerships in the Office of Education Abroad, National and International Fellowships and Scholarships, Financial Aid, and the Writing Center.”
The Gilman Scholarship aims to make study abroad experiences accessible to a more diverse population of students and give students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles in government and the private sector.
“UAB’s strong partnership with National and International Fellowships and Scholarships is the backbone of our students’ success with Gilman Scholarship,” said Ashley Neyer, director of UAB Education Abroad. “With the mentorship the Fellowships team provides, the essay feedback from our Writing Center and Education Abroad’s thorough study abroad advising support, we are able to identify and support students in their Gilman process. These cross-campus partnerships provide a holistic support system for UAB students to complete their Gilman Scholarship and truly create success for our applicants.”
Students are selected for the Gilman Scholarship through a highly competitive application process. The program receives more than 10,000 applications each year and awards students up to $5,000 toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The recipients of this prestigious scholarship are United States undergraduate students attending 467 U.S. colleges and represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“In recognizing the top institutions with students studying abroad as Gilman Scholars, the United States continues to prioritize its commitment to provide access and equity to international experiences for all Americans,” said Lee Satterfield, assistant secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
At the height of the COVID-19 global health pandemic, which created severe obstacles for students to study abroad and participate in international educational exchanges, the Gilman Scholarship was able to support nearly 800 Gilman scholars from 48 U.S. states and territories to study or intern, both in person and virtually, in 77 locations around the world.
Additionally, the Gilman program helps these students gain the professional skills, language abilities and knowledge needed for successful careers. The high academic performing and socio-economically diverse American undergraduate students who study overseas with support from the Gilman program also build relationships, foster mutual understanding, and represent American culture and values, including in developing countries and countries critical to U.S. national security. Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 35,000 Gilman scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe.
The Gilman Scholarship is a public diplomacy program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is implemented by the Institute of International Education.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort