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Coogs Around the World: Gilman Scholarships to Support Learning Abroad Experiences for UH Students

By Mike Emery, 713-743-7197

The experience of learning abroad is transformative for college students. They not only are exposed to new countries and cultures but gain global insights that will impact their academic and professional careers long after they return from their journeys.

Through the support of the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, students receive substantial financial support for their international endeavors. This competitive award recognizes exemplary yet underserved students who may not otherwise have opportunities to venture outside of the U.S.

The latest cohort of Gilman Scholars was recently announced, and 21 University of Houston students were named as recipients of this esteemed award.

“The number of UH students receiving Gilman Scholarships is simply amazing and speaks volumes about our Cougars,” said UH Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Paula Myrick Short. “Our Gilman Scholars are part of an elite group of students nationwide, who are committed to enhancing their education and ultimately, making a difference in the world.”

These 21 scholarships total $94,000 and reflect an 81% award rate for UH students (up from 52% in the previous cycle).

Students can learn more about this scholarship and how to apply by visiting the UH Learning Abroad website.

By the numbers, here is a look at UH’s FY2022 Gilman Scholarships:

  • Number of Gilman Scholars by college: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (11), C.T. Bauer College of Business (7), College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (2), Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts (1)

  • 11 Countries to be visited: Australia, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turks and Caicos, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay

  • 2 UH faculty-led programs and 17 summer and semester affiliated programs

  • 11 areas of study: Spanish language; Korean language; international business; identity and human resilience; public health; sustainable architecture and development; Japanese language and culture; women, gender, and sexuality studies; marine conservation; food and hospitality; fashion marketing

As a teenager, student Gira Gomez always imagined going to Paris. Now, the Gilman Scholarship is making that dream a reality. Gomez, who is double majoring in management and marketing in the C.T. Bauer College of Business, will study at the American Business School in Paris during the fall semester.

“I’m excited to see how this study abroad program will elevate me to another level of success in my educational and professional career, while also exploring my own personal journey in a new country,” she said.

Other Gilman Scholars include College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences students Drew Yearwood and Maryam Mohy. Yearwood, a women and gender studies major, will continue her studies in this discipline during a fall visit to Uruguay. Mohy is majoring in Middle Eastern studies and will venture to Cadiz, Spain to explore Spanish.

C.T. Bauer College of Business student Tania Rodriguez also is headed to Spain. The marketing major will be bound for Barcelona and is grateful for this life-changing experience.

“I am thankful to be receiving the Gilman scholarship,” she said. “Traveling has always been in my future plans. Who knew I could travel and study before graduating from UH? This is an amazing opportunity.”

While UH’s Gilman Scholars will indeed make a splash across the globe, they have been supported by a number of university partners, including the UH Writing Center, Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, Learning Abroad, Institute for Global Engagement, and faculty across the institution.

“I would like to thank everyone who encouraged these students to apply for these scholarships and helped them succeed in their efforts,” said Maggie Mahoney, director of global engagement UH’s Institute for Global Engagement. “The University community’s commitment to student success helps increase Gilman awardees and UH Coogs Abroad.”

Gilman Scholarships are funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Their namesake, the late New York congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, was an ardent supporter of international travel opportunities for students.

“Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience,” Gilman said. “It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”