UNH Student Brianna Cole, of Salem, Wins Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

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UNH Student Brianna Cole, Gilman Scholarship winner, will study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina

DURHAM, NH (12/12/2012)(readMedia)-- Five UNH students have received prestigious and competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to fund study abroad trips in spring 2013. They are Jennifer Baker, Brianna Cole, Heather Diversi, Audrey Petteruti, and Kellie Shea. UNH has not seen this many Gilman winners in its history as an institution.

Gilman Scholarships provide up to $5,000 in financial support to students who are traveling abroad on university-approved programs that are four weeks or longer. To be eligible for a Gilman, a student must have financial need, as evidenced by being a Pell grant recipient.

The Gilman Scholarship requires that students commit to a "follow-on" project upon their return to the United States. These projects help advertise the benefits of study abroad and the Gilman program to the university and local communities.

Brianna Cole, a junior political science/international affairs major from Salem, will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to study at the University of Belgrano. Her program in Argentine and Latin American Studies offers an early start option that will give her an additional month in Buenos Aires. During that first month, she will do intensive language study, preparing her to take content classes in Spanish. Cole noted that "Not only was I fortunate enough to win the Gilman, but my program (Academic Programs International, or API) gives Gilman winners an additional award up to $1,000 in matching funds." Her follow-on project will involve outreach to Spanish language students at UNH to describe the experience of studying in Latin America as compared to Spain (where Brianna has studied previously).

Gilman Scholarships are offered twice a year, with deadlines in October and March. In preparation for the October deadline, the director of the Office of National Fellowships, Jeanne Sokolowski, with the assistance of Cindy Mills, the assistant director of financial aid, contacted all UNH Pell grant recipients with general information on the scholarship. She also held several information sessions and worked one-on-one with students applying for the Gilman.

These five students also worked closely with the Center for International Education on choosing a program that was an excellent fit for their academic and professional plans, which is an essential factor in writing competitive applications for the Gilman. The center will continue its support to the Gilman winners through one-on-one advising, pre-departure orientation and reentry services-similar support that it gives to the approximately 25 percent of all UNH students who study abroad.

Two of the winners (Brianna Cole and Kellie Shea) are dual International Affairs (IA) majors. The IA program includes language proficiency, study and research abroad, and capstone project and presentation requirements. As Cole noted, "My regional focus and IA capstone will be in regard to Argentine and Latin American studies, so I am really excited to experience life in Argentina first hand." And Shea will begin research on her project, which examines the economic transition from the Soviet Union's planned economy to its capitalist economy, while in St. Petersburg.

The Gilman Program aims to increase the number and diversity of students studying abroad, including students studying in non-traditional countries, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand; students with diverse ethnic backgrounds; students from a diverse range of institutions; students engaged in non-traditional (for study abroad) fields of study, such as the sciences and engineering; and students with disabilities. For more information, visit http://www.iie.org/Programs/Gilman-Scholarship-Program

The UNH Center for International Education supports campus-wide internationalization and student, faculty and staff engagement on the international level. Center responsibilities include:

• International Affairs Dual Major

• Study abroad

• Scholarship opportunities

• International seminars

• Faculty development

Contact Gregg Orifici at (603) 862-4788 or gregg.orifici@unh.edu

Established in 2005, the UNH Office of National Fellowships provides information, counsel, and editorial support to high achieving students applying for national and international fellowships and scholarships. The services of the Fellowships Office are available to undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni who are interested in opportunities like the Gilman Scholarship. Contact Jeanne Sokolowski at (603) 862-0733 or jeanne.sokolowski@unh.edu.