CSU students awarded Gilman Scholarship for summer 2016

Two Colorado State University students have been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, allowing them to fulfill their dreams of studying abroad in Costa Rica and Italy.

Kayla Cormack and Faith Nielsen will be studying Tropical Ecology and Conservation, and Intercultural Communications, respectively.

The Gilman Scholarship provides a grant for U.S. undergraduate students to study academics or participate in credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. The scholarship is funded by the U.S. Congress and is sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Gilman scholarships aim to expose students to different views and enrich social and cultural understanding through funding their study abroad experience.

Kayla Cormack

About the recipients

Cormack will be spending her summer in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica. Her focus is Tropical Ecology and Conservation, and she will take courses covering Tropical Biology and Ecology, Humans in the Tropics and Spanish, as well as conduct independent research. After living at a biological field research station for the beginning of her stay, Cormack will camp in tents while she tours various ecosystems throughout the country. When she begins to conduct her research, she will live with a homestay family. Cormack aspires to be a conservation field biologist to protect and restore endangered habitats overseas.

“Getting hands-on experience living and researching abroad is a great start to the career of my dreams: making a difference in the world,” Cormack said.

While in Rome, Italy, Nielsen will study Intercultural Communications. Her Italian ancestors and rekindling her knowledge of the culture are the main reasons she chose to study in Italy. She will be living in Rome with her husband and two young daughters. Nielsen’s course load focuses on Italian language and culture, cultural competence skills and historical site visits. She is excited to learn more about her heritage and to live in and experience the vibrant and historical city for five weeks.

Faith Nielsen with her family

“Being awarded the Gilman Scholarship has enabled me to participate in this amazing course that will be so wonderful for my family, my education and my profession,” Nielsen said.

Scholarships and support

During the academic year, Student Financial Services partners with Education Abroad to offer financial aid advising and workshops for students who are considering going abroad on a study, research, internship or service-learning program. Hosted twice a semester, Gilman Scholarship Information Sessions provide students with specific application tips and helpful advice from experts in the application process. Advisers are also available to assist with essay development and feedback.

In addition to federal financial aid like the Gilman Award, the Office of International Programs awards more than $200,000 annually in need- and merit-based scholarships for education abroad, with the average scholarship recipient receiving $750. The Education Abroad office oversees programs in nearly every country around the world and provides support services to students, including advising, orientations, outreach, program coordination and risk management oversight.