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Seven Loyola students receive Gilman Scholarship, setting a University record

| By Kate McLane
From top-left to bottom-right: Angel Aubourg, ’22, Esther Agyeman Badu, ’23, Katherine FitzGerald, ’23, Christina Renée Gambrell, ’23, Julia Koller, ’23, Isis Ariana Santoni Morro, ’23, and Jacqueline Raquel Pineda, ’23
From top-left to bottom-right: Angel Aubourg, ’22, Esther Agyeman Badu, ’23, Katherine FitzGerald, ’23, Christina Renée Gambrell, ’23, Julia Koller, ’23, Isis Ariana Santoni Morro, ’23, and Jacqueline Raquel Pineda, ’23

Seven Loyola students receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a University record for students awarded the scholarship in one year. The 2021 recipients include Angel Aubourg, ’22, Esther Agyeman Badu, ’23, Katherine FitzGerald, ’23, Christina Renée Gambrell, ’23, Julia Koller, ’23, Isis Ariana Santoni Morro, ’23, and Jacqueline Raquel Pineda, ’23.

Now in its twentieth year, the Gilman International Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and aims to support students who might not otherwise participate in an international program to study or intern abroad in a diverse array of countries and regions around the globe.

“I am delighted to see how much our students value international experiences,” said Maiju Lehmijoki Wetzel, Ph.D., who works closely with Loyola students applying to national fellowships. “The success of our Gilman scholars shows that these students have reflected deeply about their commitment to experience global cultures. They have made studying abroad an integral part of their lives as individuals and as emerging professionals.”

“I also believe that our seven recipients demonstrate that they are surrounded by a community of learning that encourages and guides students to reach for their highest aspirations,” said Wetzel. “They are not alone in their dedication to see the world; they are part of a like-minded community.”

Each of the Loyola students has expressed the desire to live and study abroad to immerse themselves in different cultures, study other languages, and gain valuable skills and experience that will benefit their future careers.

Aubourg, a biopsychology major, was motived to apply because of her career aspirations. “It is my plan to integrate my interests with my intended career goals by working to become an obstetrician and gynecologist in a developing country providing comprehensive women care, specializing in emergency childbirth and reparative surgeries,” said the senior.

Badu, a junior studying business management and information systems, is planning to study in Auckland, New Zealand, during the spring of 2022. “I am looking forward to learning about a new culture and trying new dishes,” she shared. “My goal is to return home with an in-depth understanding of New Zealand’s history and culture.”

FitzGerald, a junior marketing major studying abroad this fall in Copenhagen, Denmark, believes that the experience abroad will give her unique opportunities. “This experience will help me understand the global influence on marketing products and services, which is knowledge that will aid me in my future professional career,” said FitzGerald. “It will also allow me to network with a brand-new circle of people.”

Gambrell, also a marketing major, is planning to study abroad in Rome, Italy, during the fall semester. “Since I am a marketing major and plan to apply my degree to creating and promoting positive change in the world, I believe it would be a great opportunity for me to study in Italy, where I will connect with others from different cultural backgrounds,” said Gambrell. “I will learn new ways of communicating and relating to others from various cultural backgrounds, which will be very helpful in reaching my professional goals.” 

Koller, a communication major, plans to study this fall in Athens, Greece. “I look forward to the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and apply the skills I learn during my time abroad toward my future career,” said Koller. “I hope to connect with the people of Greece and create a positive relationship. I want to be a positive representation of the United States while abroad.”

For Morro, she hopes that her time abroad will allow her to continue to experience new cultures. “I moved from Puerto Rico to the United States to be more exposed to different people and traditions; studying abroad will allow me to learn more about the world and different people,” said Morro, who is studying English and Spanish with a minor in Latin American and Latinx Studies at Loyola. “This scholarship helps me reach my goals of becoming a global citizen.”

Pineda, a speech-language-hearing science major with a biology minor who will be studying abroad in Rome, Italy, says she is grateful for the mentorship she received through the application process—and now looks forward to her international experience this fall. “The resources offered by Loyola and Dr. Terre Ryan's help made me feel like the Gilman Scholarship was achievable. The in-depth information Loyola offered in regard to all things studying abroad is what introduced me to the idea.”

All seven students expressed gratitude to Terre Ryan Ph.D., associate professor of writing and Loyola’s director of national fellowships, for helping them through the essay portion of the application process.

“This was an intensive process, and each student wrote multiple drafts,” said Ryan. “Our Gilman Scholarship winners are all very hard workers. They are all extraordinary individuals and a credit to Loyola.”

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