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Five Greyhounds win Gilman Scholarships to study abroad for summer 2021

| By Hope Pinsonault
From top-left to bottom-right: Madison Burns, ’22, Layla Horeff, ’22, Alexandra Lijewski, ’22, Mark Rose, ’22, and Jomaly N. Ruiz Sierra, ’22
From top-left to bottom-right: Madison Burns, ’22, Layla Horeff, ’22, Alexandra Lijewski, ’22, Mark Rose, ’22, and Jomaly N. Ruiz Sierra, ’22

Five Loyola University Maryland students—Madison Burns, ’22, Layla Horeff, ’22, Alexandra Lijewski, ’22, Mark Rose, ’22, and Jomaly N. Ruiz Sierra, ’22—have each been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The scholarship is intended to support their study abroad experiences during summer 2021.

“In this pandemic time, the value and promise of international experiences are heightened as we all long to return to the time of freedom of travel,” said Maiju Lehmijoki Wetzel, Ph.D., director of pre-health programs and national fellowships at Loyola. “I applaud all Gilman students for their optimism and flexibility at this time. Receiving a Gilman Scholarship is a major award, and I have a feeling that receiving this kind of recognition will inspire students for many years to come even with these very times being so uncertain in regard to international experiences.” 

Burns is a finance major with a dual minor in information systems and writing from Woodbury, Conn., who plans to use her Gilman Scholarship to study in Barcelona, Spain, this summer. She looks forward to improving her Spanish-speaking skills in a professional setting and learning about finance in an international setting.

“A full immersion in the Spanish culture will help me hone my Spanish-speaking skills,” said Burns, who is involved in Loyola’s professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, and the Financial Management Association. “The exposure to new cultures and people will provide me with challenges to take me out of my comfort zone. This will result in greater confidence to live and work wherever my career takes me.”

Horeff, who grew up in Severna Park, Md., plans to study abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, this summer. The business administration major with a minor in environmental and sustainability studies is excited to network with local people in Prague as well as the University.

“I am most looking forward to getting to know Prague culture and to experience life outside of the United States,” said Horeff, who is vice president of human resources for Loyola’s Sigma Society. “Also, Americans have now been in this state of lockdown for about a year, so the ability to travel abroad will feel liberating.”

Lijewski, a communication major with double specializations in digital media and journalism with a minor in writing, is planning to use her Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Rome, Italy, from May 29-June 26, 2021. The Baltimore native looks forward to immersing herself into another culture, since this experience will be her first time overseas.

“I’ve always had dreams to live in another country, expand my knowledge, and consistently learn and grow as an individual for and with others,” said Lijewski, who serves as the chair of marketing and communication for Greyhounds Give and who is involved in Lambda Pi Eta (National Communication Honor Society) and Alpha Sigma Nu (National Jesuit Honor Society). “Studying abroad has been a goal of mine for a very long time, so applying to the Gilman Scholarship gave me the opportunity to actually turn my dream into a reality. It serves as an opportunity to be closer to the person that I’m meant to be.”

Rose, who is from Natick, Mass., is majoring in theology and philosophy. He plans to study in Montpellier, France, for the month of June, and Rose is eager to have a more cosmopolitan outlook on the world.

“I am hoping that improving my French language skills will help me as a philosophy student, as there are many foundational philosophers who wrote originally in the French language,” said Rose, who is involved in Campus Ministry holding positions such as Cura leader, liturgical minister, and Loyola Alive president. “I hope that it will also help me to improve my understanding of the English language,” said Rose.

Originally from Ponce, P.R., Ruiz Sierra, who currently lives in Edgewood, Md., plans to use her Gilman Scholarship to fulfill a virtual internship through the Bejing Center to interact with international companies. She has a double major in forensic studies and computer science with a double minor in Chinese and Asian studies. Coming from Puerto Rico, Ruiz Sierra expresses that going to college in the United States has prepared her with experiences and challenges similar to those of studying abroad, and she will utilize these skills during her internship. 

“Thanks to the virtual internship, I will still be able to obtain a practical, professional, and informative experience that will allow me to make new international connections and pursue opportunities to explore the culture,” said Ruiz Sierra, who is an engaged member in both the Chinese Club and Forensics Club. “I’m also looking forward to improving my proficiency in the Chinese language, which is one of my minors at Loyola.”

About the Gilman Scholarship:

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship eases the financial burden for exceptional U.S. undergraduate students who study or intern abroad. The Gilman International Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education through its office in Houston, Texas. 

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