EKU Students Engaged in Meaningful Experiences Abroad Thanks to Gilman Scholarship

Published on December 13, 2022

By Sarah Bashford

Two Eastern Kentucky University students were awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a highly competitive education-abroad grant that receives thousands of applicants each year. 

Ximena Patino, EKU Honors Program junior majoring in nursing and Spanish, and Victoria Kay, junior early elementary major, were named recipients in March 2022. Over the past six years, a total of 14 EKU students have received the scholarship. 

Pantino, a first-generation college student, traveled to Granada, Spain during the summer of 2022, as a result of the scholarship. 

“The Gilman Scholarship granted me the opportunity to have one of the most enriching experiences. Studying abroad not only challenged my comfortability by introducing me to a completely new culture, but it solidified my plans to pursue a travel nursing career,” Patino said. 

Kay traveled to the United Kingdom in summer 2022 and said it was the perfect complement to her degree program. She appreciated the opportunity to learn abroad and the Gilman scholarship for making it financially possible.

“Studying abroad impacted me by allowing me to explore new places, architecture and culture. I gained global awareness and perspective while working toward my degree,” Kay said. 

Dr. Randi Polk, coordinator of nationally competitive awards at EKU, credited Jennifer White, director of education abroad, Katie Samuel, education abroad coordinator and Kara Arvin, education abroad specialist, for their role in preparing EKU students for the Gilman Scholarship. Polk noted, “We would not have the number of recipients without that strong commitment and student support from the Education Abroad Office.”

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers grants up to $5,000 to undergraduates for academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. The intent is to prepare U.S. students for roles in an increasingly global economy through international exchange. 

To learn more about the Gilman Scholarship program, visit https://www.gilmanscholarship.org/.