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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr December 13, 2022

Nicollette Houston-Turner and Yesi Villanueva, two students from the UAB School of Health Professions, were among the largest group of students selected for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The Gilman scholarship strives to widen the range of students eligible to experience studying abroad. The program is intent on encouraging students to study and learn in an array of countries and world regions.

We had an opportunity to speak to each student about their experience.

Yesi Villanueva SquareYesi Villanueva:

Villanueva, 20-year-old biomedical sciences major from Chelsea, AL, knew she wanted to study abroad as an undergrad before starting her journey at UAB but didn’t know exactly how she would do it. After talking with some of her fellow classmates, she attended the UAB Education Abroad fair in the UAB Student Hill Center and a friend informed her about the Gilman Scholarship and encouraged her to apply.

Yesi selected the course, Exploring Population Health in the United Kingdom. In this course, students were provided an opportunity to study the historical and contemporary public health issues, their effects on population health, and how public health systems are working to solve the health issues in the United Kingdom today.

“During my time abroad, I learned that public health covers a multitude of different themes, and the United States and the United Kingdom share many similarities in the social determinants that impact public health,” said Villanueva.

Nicollette Houston TurnerNicollette Houston Turner:

Houston-Turner, 21-year-old biomedical sciences major from Foley, AL, found out about Gilman through the UAB Education Abroad Instagram page and became intrigued at the possibility. At the end of her freshman year, she decided she indeed wanted to pursue the opportunity and proceeded to seek out information on how to move forward.

She was pleased to find out she had been granted the scholarship and selected the course, Environmental Studies, Health Care Liberal Arts & Spanish Language in San Jose, Costa Rica. Nicollette gives high praise to her host family who she said helped make her trip pleasant and memorable. She recalls her time in Costa Rica as an amazing learning experience and says she would do it again in a heartbeat.

“I became a huge advocate for studying abroad after my experience thanks to the Gilman Scholarship. I learned a lot about healthcare practices in Costa Rica, and I was also able to learn Spanish while sharpening my personal skills such as time management,” said Houston Turner.

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