ETSU student awarded competitive Gilman International Scholarship

Samuel Garcia was recently named a recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. (Contributed)

Samuel Garcia, a sophomore Roan Scholar at East Tennessee State University, was recently named a recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Since 2001, Gilman Scholarships have assisted qualifying students with study or intern abroad experiences by providing them with skills critical to national security and economic prosperity. The program is administered by the Institute of International Education and congressionally funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Given the current pandemic, the Gilman Program is offering flexibility to participants by allowing for deferrals through the end of 2021 and supporting participation in virtual study abroad or international internship programs.

“The fact that even a global pandemic could not deter Sam from pursuing his goal of studying abroad speaks to his extraordinary drive, commitment and focus,” said Dr. Jennifer Axsom Adler, assistant director for the Roan Scholars Leadership Program. “We look forward to when education abroad is again possible, and Sam and many other students are able to experience its transformative power.”

Garcia, a chemistry major from Kingsport, sees study abroad as critical preparation for his career goal of becoming a doctor.

“As a future doctor, I am responsible for understanding my patients and their culture as it affects symptoms, diagnosis, and communication between the medical provider and patient,” Garcia said. “I believe the Gilman offers an experience that will further prepare me to be a doctor and well-rounded person.”

Garcia is one of over 900 U.S. students selected to receive the scholarship award from the October 2020 application cycle. He received support for a study program in Italy that includes a focus on migrants and refugees.

“This is a topic that I have a personal connection to as I emigrated from Venezuela to the United States,” he said.

Gilman recipients complete a follow-up service project upon return to the U.S. Garcia, who is pursuing a culture and health minor, plans to create a short film to share with the ETSU community.

“I want to connect the material I have learned within my anthropology minor with my experience to create a piece that will inform others about the world,” he said.

This is the second consecutive year ETSU undergraduates have received the Gilman International Scholarship. Last fall, staff in the Honors College and Roan Program partnered to increase student awareness of the scholarship and encourage students to apply.

The ETSU Honors College is encouraging students to apply for summer and fall 2021 Gilman Scholarships by March 1. Students must demonstrate financial need to qualify. ETSU Education Abroad is available to assist students in selecting a study abroad program and connect them with funding opportunities, such as the Gilman Scholarship. To learn more, visit etsu.edu/honors or contact studyabroad@etsu.edu or 423-439-6076. The Gilman Scholarship is funded by the U.S. Department of State and is not an ETSU program.

Contributed to the Press