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Record Number of Montclair State Students Awarded the Gilman Scholarship

Posted in: Study Abroad

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Five students – Isaiah Ayestas, Kayla Cespedes, Adam Chhour, Daphne Desir, and Daisy Gonzalez– have been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. This marks the highest number of recipients that Montclair State University has had in an single application cycle. In total, eight Montclair State students have been awarded the Gilman Scholarship for AY2021-2022.

These students are beyond excited to have the chance to study abroad. When asked how this scholarship will contribute to study abroad experience, Daphne Desir, a freshman Public Health major, said “This scholarship will open doors to so many opportunities. I will be able to create a path towards my future career.” Adamn Chhour, a junior studying to get his BFA in Filmmaking, expressed, “This scholarship helps financially aid my trip to Japan so that I can focus more on the experience and school while there instead of thinking about the financial burdens.” Daphne is planning to study at the University of Seoul in South Korea and Adam is planning on studying at the Temple University campus in Tokyo, Japan. Both students had always wanted to study abroad, and with support from their study abroad advisor, Samantha Hellwege, they learned about how the Gilman Scholarship could help them achieve their goal.

Making a difference in the world is what interested Isaiah Ayestas, a Justice Studies major, to study abroad. He believes that his program in Japan will help broaden his horizons and build the skills he needs to make his contribution

The recipients, their majors, study abroad programs and locations are listed below:

  • Adam Chhour, a junior, majoring in Filmmaking. Adam plans to study abroad in Fall 2021 at Temple University in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Daphne Desir, a freshman, majoring in Public Health. Daphne plans to study abroad in Spring 2022 at the University of Seoul in South Korea.
  • Isaiah Ayestas, a sophomore, majoring in Justice Studies. Isaiah plans to study abroad in Spring 2022 at Temple University in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Daisy Gonzalez, a senior, majoring in Computer Science. Daisy plans to study abroad in Fall 2021 at the University of Seoul in South Korea.
  • Kayla Cespedes, a junior, majoring in Psychology. Kayla plans to study abroad in Fall 2021 at the American College of Greece in Athens, Greece.

In the event, students are unable to travel to their destinations in Fall 2021 due to travel restrictions they will have the opportunity to postpone their awards to a later term.

Chhour encourages students who are planning on studying abroad to start early and take advantage of all the resources available through the Office of International Academic Initiatives and the University to support their application process.

Desir adds, “Do not be afraid of the unknown, even if things don’t go as planned or as imagined, do it anyway.”

“We are very proud of the effort that these students put into completing their applications and clearly their hard work has paid off. We are excited to see students from different academic disciplines awarded this scholarship, and we look forward to having them represent the University on their respective overseas programs” stated Samantha Hellwege, Study Abroad Coordinator and Gilman Scholarship advisor. “We encourage any student who meets the eligibility requirements for Gilman and is thinking about study abroad to apply for this scholarship and we work hard to support the applicants along the way,” Hellwege described.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad. It is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide. The Gilman Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Students seeking additional information about study abroad scholarships, please view here.

Story by Jazmin Mora-Amaya, a freshman in Business Administration and Student Assistant in the Office of International Academic Initiatives.


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