Three Elizabethtown College students, sophomore Japanese major Jacob Schell, sophomore Sociology-Anthropology major Emma Nalesnik, and junior Japanese and Asian Studies major Ariel Hampton, were recently awarded the highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, giving them the opportunity to study abroad in any country of their choice within the next year.

Since the Gilman Scholarship program began in 2001, Etown has seen 19 recipients selected, including this year’s winners. Etown’s Gilman recipients have studied abroad in 10 different countries: The Gambia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

As a part of their mission to support all students who are interested in studying abroad during their time at Etown, the Study Abroad Office has made it a priority to promote this opportunity, incentivize applicants, and provide students with helpful writing tips for drafting strong essays. Gilman applicants also work with the Office of Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships to strengthen their application.

“Helping students apply for and then ultimately receive these competitive scholarships is a highlight of my job! It’s incredibly rewarding to see our students’ hard work pay off in a big way,” said Megan Bell, the college’s Study Abroad Advisor, who previously served as a reviewer for the Gilman Scholarship.

Nalesnik is grateful for the help she received from the Study Abroad Office and the Office of Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships while completing her application:

“Both of these offices were extremely helpful in this process,” she said. “I had meetings with Dr. Benowitz (Director of Special Programs and Prestigious Scholarships & Fellowships) all throughout the summer. He helped me break down the essays and eventually put them together. Megan Bell in the Study Abroad Office also was extremely helpful, as she has worked with the Gilman Scholarship many times. She was able to help me understand what they were looking for in the essays.”

All three students are planning to study abroad during the summer or fall of 2021 once travel restrictions from the pandemic have lifted. Schell is planning to study abroad at Kansai Gaidai in Osaka, Japan, where he is excited to learn more about Japanese culture by taking classes in music and art. Nalesnik is planning to study in Limerick, Ireland, and Hampton is planning to study at KCP International in Tokyo, Japan.

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The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students of limited financial means (i.e. Federal Pell Grant recipients) to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. The Institute of International Education has administered the program since its inception in 2001. You can learn more about the program here.