Symone Perkins ’17, a chemistry major from Sterling, Virginia, is Shenandoah University’s first recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
“I am ecstatic,” said Perkins. “I received the email confirming my award while I was in chemistry lab and I saw it, read it and I screamed because I was so happy.”
Perkins, whose travel experiences outside of the U.S. have been limited to Canada, will travel to South Korea for the spring 2016 semester and attend Ewha Womans University in Seoul.
“I have adored the Korean culture from a very young age,” said Perkins. “I won’t deny that for me to go into this country and experience the food, language, sights, people and culture it will be a shock, but I am ready to take these steps to move into full cultural immersion.”
For its spring 2016 application cycle, the Gilman Scholarship Program reviewed more than 2,900 applications. Perkins is one of more than 800 award recipients from across the country.
According to its website, the Gilman Scholarship Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go by offering awards to U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints.
“I’ve been encouraging students to apply for the Gilman Scholarship for years,” said Study Abroad Advisor Jean Hayes. “It’s such a wonderful opportunity, especially for those who show a strong interest and capability in studying abroad but who could use some extra funds to make it happen. I am so proud of Symone for earning this scholarship and am excited for her to experience the rewards of international travel.”
The Gilman Scholarship Program is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college. Since its inception in 2001, approximately 19,000 students from 1,124 U.S. institutions of higher education have studied in a total of 144 countries.
It is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education.