Four NKU students earn the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

For immediate release…
Thursday – May 23, 2013

- Four Northern Kentucky University students are among the list of over 700 outstanding American undergraduates from 270 colleges and universities across the country who have been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, to participate in a study abroad or international internship program this summer.

Anthony Baker, a senior history major with a minor in Chinese/Asian studies, will be studying in Seoul, South Korea, at Hansung University. He will be working with NKU professor Carol Medlicott looking at the historical political relationship between Korea and China.

Halie Sweeney, Mary Von Lehman and Brittany Walker are all nursing majors. Walker is a senior from Fairdale, Ky.; Sweeney is a junior from Alexandria, Ky.; Von Lehman is a junior from Villa Hills, Ky. They will spending five weeks working with NKU associate professor Adele Dean conducting a community health assessment and studying women’s health issues in Tanzania at the University of Dar es Salaam.

“I was shocked and honored to receive the scholarships,” said Von Lehman. “It’s going to be an incredible journey and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to experience Tanzanian culture, to serve others and to expand my nursing education.”

Dean shared her student’s enthusiasm. “I am thrilled for these students as this is a full scholarship and we have found from previous experience with nursing students studying abroad that these programs develop empathy, an understanding of other cultures, an appreciation for diversity and the ability to provide culturally sensitive care to patients from other cultures – an ever-increasing number of our patient load here in the U.S,” she said.

With the 700 new scholarships this summer, the Gilman Scholarship Program has offered more than 2,800 scholarships in 2012-13 academic year, the most in its history. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad program costs, and a limited number of students will also receive additional funding for language study through the Critical Need Language Awards, for a total award of $8,000. A complete list of students selected to receive Gilman Scholarships is available at

The U.S. Department of State’s Gilman Scholarship Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Applications for spring 2014 Gilman Scholarships will be available online in August and are due Oct. 1. Students receiving a federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in an international internship for academic credit are encouraged to apply.

Since the establishment of the Gilman International Scholarship Program by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, over 13,000 students nationwide have received this prestigious award. It is named for former Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, who served 30 years in the House of Representatives and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee before retiring in 2002.

“Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates,” said Congressman Gilman. “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. 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.

The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Recipients of the scholarship have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies – making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

“International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries,” said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education. “It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”

About the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations. In an effort to reflect the diversity of the United States and global society, ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports and professional exchanges. For more information about ECA programs, initiatives and achievements, visit

About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, the Institute is the world’s most experienced global higher education and professional exchange organization. IIE has a network of 19 offices worldwide working with more than 1,200 member institutions and over 6,000 individuals with a commitment to the internationalization of their institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the Fulbright and Humphrey Fellowships administered for the U.S. Department of State. The Institute is a resource for educators and institutions worldwide (, publishing the Open Doors Report and operating and search engines for study abroad program and study abroad scholarships. The IIE-Houston was founded in 1952 and is dedicated to building international understanding and goodwill through education, professional and cultural exchanges, and developing closer associations between Houstonians and the world. IIE-Houston presents the city’s diversity and strength to current and future world leaders and creates opportunities for all Houstonians to serve as citizen ambassadors.

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