4 Students Awarded Gilman Scholarships to Study Abroad

February 9, 2024 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

gilman winners

Four Elmhurst University students have been awarded the highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, enabling them to pursue study abroad experiences in Australia, the United Kingdom and Argentina.

Elmhurst University junior Victoria Stopa is spending her entire Spring Term at the University of Australia. “Studying abroad in Sydney, Australia, has always been one of my biggest dreams,” she said. But the trip seemed unattainable until, with help from the University’s national fellowships and scholarships coordinator, Marisa Mancini, Stopa was able to apply for and receive the Gilman Scholarship.

Stopa, who grew up in Addison, Ill., and a small town in Poland, believes her study abroad experience will increase her global and cultural competency. A finance and international business major, Stopa hopes to work for an international company where she can support others in their financial decisions.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity, and excited to share my story about the Gilman Scholarship and my incredible Aussie experience when I return,” she said.

The Gilman Scholarship is the U.S. Department of State’s flagship undergraduate study abroad scholarship and provides funding to U.S. Pell Grant recipients to pursue overseas study and internships.

For first-year student Maria Marsico, from Elmhurst, Ill., the scholarship financed nearly all of her 2024 January Term trip to England, where she participated in the course EU – UK Cities as Text. Marsico, who plans to apply to the secondary education program at Elmhurst, said the Cities as Text course appealed to her because of her love for English history and her eagerness to learn more about British culture.

Sarah Hansen, a junior from Marion, Iowa, will travel to Argentina in March to teach English learners at Argentinian grade schools. Her Gilman Scholarship will fund nearly all of her study abroad expenses.

Hansen, who is majoring in Spanish and world language education, said she chose her specific study abroad program because of its focus on equipping future educators with the skills to support language learners in the classroom. She plans to acquire practical techniques and strategies for supporting the academic growth of emerging bilingual students while broadening her cultural understanding.

“This experience will undoubtedly shape my future career in world language education, and I am eager to share the knowledge and insights gained with my community upon my return,” she said.

Elmhurst University junior Julia Markowski, an elementary education major from Schaumburg, Ill., is also headed to Argentina in March, to teach English learners in local schools and to delve into the country’s unique culture and history.

Markowski’s passion for shaping the next generation and her dedication to learning and teaching diverse learners motivated to her pursue her elementary education major.

“I look forward to complete immersion in Argentinean culture, an experience that will help make me a more empathetic, tolerant and inclusive teacher, and that will strengthen my relationships with students and others in my future career,” she said. She also believes the experience will increase her cultural awareness and global perspective as she enters the field of education.

“I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Gilman Scholarship program for funding nearly all my study abroad expenses and making this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity a reality,” Markowski said.

All Elmhurst U. students receiving a Pell Grant are highly encouraged to apply for a Gilman Scholarship to help fund a study or internship program abroad. By increasing access to study abroad opportunities, Elmhurst University fosters growth-minded paths for development in our students, giving them timeless knowledge and skills to thrive as adaptive leaders. For more information, contact Marisa Mancini, national fellowships and scholarships coordinator, at Marisa.Mancini@elmhurst.edu, and visit gilmanscholarship.org. The next Gilman Scholarship deadline is March 7, 2024.

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