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WTAMU Student Wins Gilman Scholarship for Study in South Korea

June 18, 2013

COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

WTAMU Student Wins Gilman Scholarship for Study in South Korea

CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University student Valeria Rodriguez has been named the recipient of a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, to study in South Korea during the fall 2013 academic term. Rodriguez joins a company of almost 850 outstanding American undergraduate students from 324 colleges and universities across the United States who have won an award for fall 2013 or the 2013-2014 academic year. 

Rodriguez, the daughter of Rito and Eloisa Rodriguez of Hart, is a senior pulling a double major in biochemistry and biology. She has directed her life to helping and serving others and plans to attend medical school to become a researcher and physician.
The Gilman recipient will depart for an 18-hour flight to South Korea on Aug. 27 and return home just in tiValeria Rodriguezme for Christmas on Dec. 21. During her semester in South Korea, Rodriguez will take an introductory course in the Korean language along with classes in biochemistry and cell biology for a total of 15 semester credit hours. She will live in the international dorm at Konkuk University.

One requirement of a Gilman Scholarship is a follow-on service project. In her quest to serve others, Rodriguez currently mentors students at Caprock High School in Amarillo through WTAMU’s G-Force program. She plans to use that connection for her follow-on service project by talking about the Gilman Scholarship and sharing her experiences in South Korea with high school students in the G-Force and Upward Bound programs.  

“I want to introduce the students to study abroad and let them know about the wonderful opportunities that are available to them,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully study abroad will be something to motivate them further to go to college and stay in college.”

“This is a great opportunity for Valeria, and for those that she will influence when she returns,” Laura Seals, coordinator for WTAMU’s Nationally Competitive Scholarships, said. “I’m proud of Valeria as a Gilman award winner and as an outstanding example of achievement. She is a great ambassador for West Texas A&M. Choosing to do a study abroad semester in a STEM discipline takes planning, but it’s not impossible. Biology courses at an institution abroad will benefit Valeria and enrich her education.” 

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 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. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad program costs, and a limited number of students also will receive additional funding for language study through the Critical Need Language Awards, for a total award of $8,000. More information is available at www.iie.org/gilman.

“Valeria is our second Gilman winner from WT,” Dr. Wade Shaffer, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said. “I look forward to the legacy that students like Valeria can create here and how their experiences abroad can impact our campus.”

The Gilman program is administered by the Institute of International Education. 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. 

For more information about the Gilman Scholarship or other competitive scholarships, contact Seals at lseals@wtamu.edu or 806-651-2587 or visit the Office of National Competitive Scholarships in WTAMU’s Student Success Center.


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