Gilman Scholarships send two students abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year

Junior Autumne Lee will study abroad in Accra, Ghana, and sophomore Jordan McGill will study in Tokyo, Japan.

gilman scholarship logoTwo University of Alabama at Birmingham students are among 1,200 undergraduates from 354 colleges and universities across the United States selected to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

The program receives more than 10,000 applications each year and awards about 2,500 scholarships. Gilman scholars are awarded up to $5,000 toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to support students who traditionally have been underrepresented in education abroad, including, but not limited to, students with high financial need, first-generation college students, students in STEM fields, students from diverse ethnic backgrounds and students with disabilities.

A junior, Autumne Lee of Memphis, Tennessee, will study in Accra, Ghana. Lee is majoring in biology with a concentration in molecular biology and minoring in African-American studies in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences.

Lee plans to use her time in Ghana as an opportunity to study the social context of health, like community, status, family, education and other lifestyle factors that influence health outcomes specific to minority groups.

“This knowledge will be helpful to understand important contributors to these disparities that are outside of biology textbooks and labs,” Lee said. “Health issues are constructed in a very complicated and dimensional way and are better attacked from multiple fronts.”

As Lee is a student in the UAB Honors College Global and Community Leadership Program, her interest in social justice issues related to health care is fueled by interdisciplinary coursework, global and community education, outreach events, and service projects, which she plans to continue while abroad. GCL students are encouraged to explore, understand and take a leadership role in addressing issues about which they are passionate, and apply knowledge gained to community development —  something Lee plans to continue while abroad.

The program aims to make study abroad experiences accessible to a more diverse population of students and to encourage students to choose less traditional study abroad destinations. It also gives students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles in government and the private sector.

Lee will volunteer at the University of Ghana hospital working in health care provision as a service learning component of her studies. She is also looking for a charity or service in Accra for GCL to partner with while she is there. Lee is a peer mentor in the Honors College and a member of BWOMEN, Blazer Women Mentoring Excellence and Networking, a peer mentoring group designed to provide a network of academic and social support to black female students.

Jordan McGill, a sophomore of El Paso, Texas, will spend the academic year studying at Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan. He is majoring in chemistry with a minor in Japanese in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences and is a student in the UAB Honors College Science and Technology Honors Program.

“I am most looking forward to being able to meet new people and make friends with locals in Japan, as well as learning more about the traditions and history of the country,” McGill said. “I hope to make use of my Japanese language skills in a research setting in the future, and it’s my hope that I will gain valuable people skills as well, which will help me in patient care or medical research.”

McGill is a member of the UAB Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and previously served as the publicity and communications officer. He is also a Chemistry Scholar. In this role, he serves as a student assistant in chemistry labs, lectures or recitations.

The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program aims to make study abroad experiences accessible to a more diverse population of students and to encourage students to choose less traditional study abroad destinations. It also gives students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles in government and the private sector.

Students are selected for the Gilman Scholarship through a highly competitive application process.

Students can get help finding study abroad opportunities at the UAB Office of Education Abroad.

  • November 30
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