(Posted July 2, 2018)

Courtesy: Bekah Ford '19 

Courtesy: Bekah Ford '19 

Huntingdon, Pa. – Five students from Juniata College have been awarded the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The grant program enables students to study or intern abroad who might otherwise not have the opportunity due to financial need. Juniata ranks in the top 20 percent of colleges across the U.S. at helping students apply for and earn Gilman scholarships.

The award recipients from Juniata include Katelyn Meehan, a junior from Huntingdon, Pa.; Hannah Brewster, a junior from West Henrietta, N.Y.; Rebekah Ford, a senior from Souderton, Pa.; Molly Ulrich, a junior from Homer, N.Y.; and Katheryn Weeden, a senior from Harleysville, Pa. 

Meehan, who studies wildlife conservation, will study in New Zealand during the fall 2018 semester. She hopes to gain international experience in her field, volunteer at international conservation organizations and learn about marine science ecosystems that are not available in the U.S.

“In eighth grade, I lived and studied in New Zealand,” Meehan says. “My passion for the environment and my passion to return to the area stemmed from that experience, and I cannot wait to return to study in the South Island. I would not have been able to fully experience this opportunity without this scholarship.”

Like Meehan, Brewster studies wildlife conservation at Juniata and will also study in New Zealand for the fall 2018 semester.

"Juniata remained a foundation for me while studying abroad. The Center for International Education and my mentors remained in touch with me. Even though I was far away, Juniata still felt like my home.”

-Bekah Ford '19 

“I wanted to travel somewhere completely new,” says Brewster. “New Zealand has a unique environment with wildlife I wouldn’t be able to experience anywhere else. I’m grateful that the study abroad advisers at Juniata have helped me prepare to study abroad financially and academically.”

Ford studied in New Zealand during the spring 2018 semester. During her time abroad, she studied island and coastal environments through a biological lens and learned about the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.

“It’s not a cheap country to live in and flights across the globe are very expensive,” Ford says. “I knew that the Gilman scholarship would offer me the financial support that I needed. And, Juniata remained a foundation for me while studying abroad. The Center for International Education and my mentors remained in touch with me. Even though I was far away, Juniata still felt like my home.”

Ulrich was accepted to study in Ecuador for the fall 2018 semester, where she will hone her Spanish language skills, immerse herself in the culture and enhance her knowledge of geology.

“I wouldn’t have known to apply for the Gilman Scholarship if it wasn’t for the support I received at Juniata,” Ulrich says. “I had several advisers who told me that I qualified to apply for the scholarship. It will greatly help to cover the costs of my travels. Juniata is making study abroad so easy and fulfilling for me.”

Lastly, Weeden studied in Spain during the spring 2018 semester.

The Gilman Scholarship Program encourages its recipients to study in diverse locations. The program has given study abroad experiences to historically underrepresented students in education abroad, including first-generation college students, ethnic minorities, students with disability and students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A portion of the program requires applicants to propose and carry out a service project, which encourages others to consider international experiences and apply for the Gilman Scholarship.

Ford’s project will include a series of presentations for first-year and sophomore students who are studying in science-related disciplines.

“I hope to show them that it is entirely possible to study abroad even with a demanding academic schedule, and that the experience has the potential to open up valuable opportunities for their futures,” Ford says.

Weeden will create a blog to document the scholarship application experience and her study abroad experience. “My site will go live after I return from my study abroad site so I can discuss and reflect on how it impacted me.”

The Gilman program considers applications based on academic preparedness and impact on student’s academic and career trajectory, diversity of background and experience, choice of program and destination and impact to community. 

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.