Two UNO Students Receive Prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
Two University of New Orleans students were chosen from a national pool of over 700 outstanding applicants from 270 colleges and universities across the U.S. to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for Study Abroad.
The two undergraduate women are among the three Louisiana natives and the four students from Louisiana universities to receive the scholarship.
Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad program costs, and a limited number of critical need language scholarships are given each year for a total award of $8,000. The scholarship requires that each student design an original "follow on" project to help promote study abroad.
A Nontraditional Summer Study Abroad in Ireland
Edie Talley, currently an undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies major at UNO, plans to join the UNO Creative Writing Workshops in Cork, Ireland during the 2013 summer semester, said Mary Hicks, program director of UNO International Student Exchange Programs.
"Receiving the Gilman scholarship is a huge and humbling honor, one of many wonderful things that have happened to me recently," said Talley. "The truth is, I came to UNO to fulfill a dream I've had since high school and to make myself more competitive in today's job market. But the whole experience has been far more rewarding than I ever imagined. As a "non-traditional" student, I never expected to be so warmly welcomed or to fit so well into the fabric of the university. I never imagined the opportunities that would come my way. I certainly never imagined having the chance to study abroad. Yet, I'm doing it!"
Talley's project "will be aimed at non-traditional and/or transfer students who, like her, have returned to college but may feel a little disenfranchised because they are older or different from the traditional university student," said Hicks. Talley aims to "help them see that they, too, can take advantage of the amazing learning opportunities to be had by studying abroad."
Talley wrote in her Gilman Scholarship application that she wants to help fellow non-traditional students overcome the fear of not fitting in with young, traditional students and to help them find ways to meet family and work obligations by informing them about financial aid options.
Talley aims to reach out to existing non-traditional and transfer students on UNO's myriad study abroad programs in order to incorporate their experiences with her own, building a collection of information in order to then reach out to the incoming non-traditional and transfer students via such offices as New Student Orientation, Financial Aid, and the Division of International Education.
"My ancestors came to the United States from Ireland over 200 years ago," said Talley, who hopes to inspire other students to take advantage of all UNO has to offer. "I feel, by going there, I will be completing the journey they began, finding my roots, and maybe finding myself in the process."
Taking International Studies Abroad
Shadia Murad, a senior majoring in International Studies with a minor in French, will spend her summer study abroad in Montpellier, with UNO's Glories of France Program. During the five-week program in the south of France, students attend classes in French language or a variety of other subjects.
"My intention is to create a network of students who have international experience and can pass on their knowledge to other university students," said Murad of her follow-on project for the Gilman Scholarship.
"I hope that students within the organization would be willing to act as mentors to those who are planning to study abroad by answering questions and helping them with scholarship applications."
Murad plans to develop the network during the first six months following her return.
"The organization I plan to create will offer students the knowledge needed to participate in these programs. It will prepare and encourage them to go abroad without the fear of the unknown."