Gilman Scholarships

JCCC boasts most Gilman winners

Three students from JCCC are the latest recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, making JCCC the two-year college with the most winners in the award’s 10-year history.

Carolyn Kadel, director, international education, said JCCC has had 23 Gilman scholarship winners – more than any other community college in the nation.

“We consistently have Gilman winners,” Kadel said. “We have students who take the process very seriously…and they do an excellent job.”

The scholarship offers awards to students who wish to study abroad. It is based on both merit and financial need, since the winners must also be Pell Grant recipients, a federal government program that gives grants based on need.

The goal of the Gilman, according to the scholarship’s website, is “to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints.”

Kadel said she attributes the number of Gilman scholarships won by JCCC students to the support offered by the college’s office of international education and to careful planning by the student applicants.  “Our students write wonderful essays that reveal their motivation and preparation for this opportunity,” she said.

 “The Gilman program encourages students who may think that study abroad is impossible for them,” Kadel said. “The overseas experience engages them with another culture, helps them with language acquisition, and builds confidence and independence.  It’s life changing.  Gilman recipients give back when they return with follow-on projects that promote the scholarship and study abroad to other students.”

Winners for the spring semester include:

  • Taylor Grimmett, $5,000, studying in China.
  • Ryan Donovan, $4,500, studying in Argentina.
  • John-Patrick Doherty, $4,000, studying in Argentina.

Doherty, the oldest of six children, said he was thrilled with his award. With his youngest sibling still in kindergarten, he said he had no idea how he would fund a trip abroad. The Gilman award made the trip much easier to finance.

“I am this close to fluency in Spanish, and I’ve exhausted all the classes here (at JCCC),” Doherty said. “I still need to stop, translate and then talk. I want to be full immersed in a culture so I start thinking in that language.”

Donovan said he wants to use his award as a springboard for the study of economics in another country. Argentina defaulted on its loans in 2002, he explained, and the chance to study there interests the future political science/economics major.

“I attended Model United Nations in New York City recently, and I was completely jealous of the global perspective they have there,” Donovan said. He said he has traveled, visiting 30 of the 50 states, but those experiences have kept him in the U.S.A.

“I’m anxious to investigate the differences between our cultures,” he said.

Grimmett already has studied Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Russian in preparation for a degree in international business. He looks forward to his trip to Nanjing, China, not only to investigate a new culture but also to capitalize on the career benefits that may come from immersing himself in the Chinese culture.

Grimmett also won a $4,000 Freeman-Asia scholarship for his trip.

He said he plans on keeping a video web log throughout his stay abroad. Before he leaves, he’ll visit Chinese classes at JCCC to tell them about the log and the importance of the Gilman scholarship to his trip.

As part of the conditions of the scholarship, recipients must act as ambassadors to the Gilman International Scholarship program and share their experiences with others.

“I’m privileged to be in the circle. To say that you are a Gilman scholar, that means something,” Grimmett said. “You may very well be called upon to be a representative of the United States.”