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Two UNG students receive Gilman International Scholarships to study abroad in fall and spring

December 7, 2017

Lyric Jones of Augusta, Georgia, and Monica Pizano of Jefferson, Georgia, are two of the nearly 1,000 American undergrad students receiving the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The money will help both University of North Georgia (UNG) students study aboard during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Jones, a 22-year-old senior majoring in Chinese, received the award for the academic year and has been studying in Beijing, the capital of China.

Pizano, a 22-year-old junior majoring in Spanish, received the scholarships for the spring semester and will study in Spain.

Kathryn Boniol from Gray, Georgia, is an alternate for the spring semester award. The 24-year-old junior majoring in Spanish still plans to study in Peru this spring.

Having one student win the scholarship and one be selected as an alternate is not new for UNG. Since the 2009-10 academic year, 35 UNG students have received Gilman Scholarships, including a record nine students in the 2016-17 academic year.

"UNG students excel in winning scholarships such as the Gilman because of the school's commitment to creating more well-rounded students through study abroad and UNG's many language and internationally minded programs," said Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant vice president of Research and Engagement. "UNG’s Center for Global Engagement, Financial Aid office and many academic departments collaborate to find opportunities for students to travel overseas and thrive while learning in a new culture."

Lin explained the Gilman Scholarship is unique because it is geared toward supporting students who are underrepresented in study abroad programs.

"The scholarship is interested in diversifying the types of students who study abroad, including those who do not have the economic resources to do so," she said. "It is an excellent opportunity for students who receive the Pell Grant to get funding to study abroad."

The U.S. Department of State awards Gilman Scholarships three times a year, with recipients studying abroad in the fall, spring and summer semesters, Lin said. Jones and Pizano were awarded the fall and spring semester scholarships. UNG will be notified of its summer winners in early 2018.

"We had 10 students apply in the early summer application period," Lin said. "We should find out in a couple of months. In the meantime, we are working with the Center for Global Engagement —UNG’s office for facilitating international and cross-cultural experiences for students, faculty and staff — to identify more students who may want to apply for fall or summer funding by the March deadline."

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward study abroad or internship program costs with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas. The program also emphasizes countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study.

The Gilman program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education.

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