Winter 2011

Gilman Scholars meet with Assistant Secretary Ann Stock, U.S. State Department, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at International Education Week  

This past November, five Gilman Scholars had the honor of welcoming International Education Week (IEW) in Washington D.C. at events hosted by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the Institute of International Education (IIE). Along with five other IIE Opportunity Scholars (international students on scholarship to the U.S.), the Gilman Scholars participated in an intimate breakfast and roundtable discussion with Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.   During the discussion, students spoke about their experiences abroad, the challenges and surprises they faced living in another country, as well as their roles as Gilman Scholars.  Attendee, Abike Kamson, recalls her impression of the meeting, “We were all a little intimidated but as soon as Ann came in, she was so nice and so gracious. She made us all feel at ease really quickly. The conversation flowed and everyone shared an interesting story about their cultural experiences.”

After breakfast, students accompanied Assistant Secretary Stock to the Open Doors Briefing at the National Press Club, where they were ushered in by applause as Stock acknowledged their status as Gilman Scholars to the audience.  Open Doors is a comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions in the United States, and U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit at their home colleges or universities.  The annual research and publication is conducted by the Institute of International Education and supported by a grant from ECA.  The 2010 Open Doors not only serves as a valuable resource, but this year, it showcases the impressive artwork of Gilman Scholar Hannah Owens, whose interpretation of Ngor, Senegal is featured on the cover. 

Gilman Scholar, Peter Park reflects, “The event was incredible. This was the first opportunity I have had to attend an event of such a high level of prestige.  It was also great to meet other Gilman Scholars who shared their stories and were interested in hearing mine.”

 International Education Week Attendees


  Home Institution

 Study Abroad Country

Academic Term Abroad 

Taurean Barnwell 

   University of South Florida 


Spring 2006

Erika Delcid

       Virginia Commonwealth University 


Spring 2010

Abike Kamson

      George Washington University 


Fall 2009

James McDowell

    Howard University 


Spring 2009

Peter Park

      College of William and Mary 


Spring 2010

Summer & Fall 2011 Open

The current application cycle is for eligible students studying abroad during the Summer and Fall 2011 terms. The Summer and Fall 2011 cycle opened in early January 2011 with a deadline of March 1, 2011. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Gilman Scholarship, a limited number of scholarships for summer programs will be available to students from all majors who meet the program's standard eligibility criteria.  For more information, check out the Gilman website:

Even though as a recipient of the Gilman Program you are not eligible to apply again to receive a Gilman Scholarship, please share this information with your friends, peers, classmates, or during your Follow-on Project presentations.  You can also inform your audience that over 2,300 scholarships are being offered this academic year, so it's never been a better time to apply for a Gilman Scholarship to study abroad!

Reminder for Recent Returnees

Welcome back to the Gilman Scholars who have recently returned from their time abroad. We hope you had an amazing experience that was academically, professionally, and personally rewarding. There are just a few things to do to conclude your responsibilities to the Gilman Scholarship Program.   Further information and assistance with these responsibilities can be found on the Gilman website’s Resources for Alumni page at

§ Update your contact information. Please email us at gilman_scholars@iie.orgto update your contact information.

§ Online Evaluations. Upon your return from abroad all Gilman Scholars are required to submit a Scholarship Recipient Evaluation. This document can be filled out online at the Gilman website's Resources for Alumni - Evaluation page at

§ Follow-On Projects. If you have not already started your Follow-On Project, please remember you have 6 months from the date of your return to the U.S. to complete your project and submit your report to the Gilman Scholarship Program. For assistance or guidance, visit the Gilman website's Resources for Alumni - Follow-on Project page at or contact the Gilman Staff at

§ Stay connected. The Gilman Scholarship Program has joined the social media movement in order to more actively engage with applicants, recipients, alumni, and advisors.  You can now follow us on Facebook (Gilman International Scholarship - Official Page), Twitter and YouTube.

Distinguished Gilman Scholar – Vu Truong
Senegal, Academic Year 2009-2010, Brandeis University

My nine-month tenure abroad on the Minnesota Studies in International Development - Senegal (MSID) program stands as the single most transformative experience of my undergraduate experience. I left Senegal with lifelong friends, enduring memories, strengthened academic and career goals, and the incontestable resolution that I will return again.

Four months into my study abroad, my father was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and my mother hospitalized for hypertension complications. For financial reasons, I could not return to my family in their time of need and I decided not to burden my host family with my problems stateside. At the time, I called on my skills as a certified nurse’s assistant and interned at the Centre de Santé de Sokone, a rural clinic in the south of Senegal.  There, I saw patients die after making days-long journeys to the hospital, administrators struggle to pay their staff a living wage, nurses save latex gloves only for HIV testing because there were just too few. While my parents were suffering, they were privileged enough to have access to trained physicians and a reliable system of public health infrastructure. It did not seem right to complain. When I finally told my host family the truth about my family hardships, I regret having taken so long. I do not exaggerate to say that my Senegalese host family was what made my separation from my biological family in those uncertain months bearable.

In addition to my coursework and internship, I conducted an independent research project on Wolofization, or the process of language shift by which speakers of minority languages are choosing to teach their children Wolof. I conducted a survey on the extent of attitudes toward this rapid expansion of Wolof and a comparative analysis of urban Wolof and so-called “pure Wolof.” I am presently analyzing the linguistic data I collected in Ghana in my senior honors thesis.  My time abroad has made surer of my goals to be a theoretical linguist specializing in language documentation. I have since applied for a Fulbright grant do research on Amami, an indigenous language of Japan whose speakers are in the process of shifting to Japanese.

My follow-on project, a Study Abroad in Linguistics Conference, went off without a hitch. Brandeis linguistics majors who studied abroad presented their experiences and fielded questions. The target audience was majors in linguistics and allied fields. My own presentation centered on the Gilman Scholarship. While Brandeis has many students who are Pell Grant-eligible, very few of apply for the Gilman Scholarship. My hope is that my event has encouraged more students to apply for the Gilman. With that goal in mind, I plan to host another Study Abroad Linguistics Conference in the spring 2011 semester.

I was and still am intermittently humbled by the ridiculous luck my life has known, which has allowed a me, a Vietnamese American immigrant of parents who had never gone to high school, the opportunity to wander the dirt roads of Senegal wondering what my life might be like as linguistics professor. I went abroad and realized how much I want to accomplish. With no small thanks to the Gilman Scholarship, I am reaching more of my goals.