22 Western Kentucky University Students Awarded Gilman Scholarship for Study Abroad

In the October 2023 application season, 22 WKU students were awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad—more than all other colleges and universities in Kentucky put together.

Undergraduates who might not otherwise be able to study or intern abroad are given financial support through the Gilman Scholarship, which increases the number of students who take advantage of this opportunity. In this application season, 22 WKU students were awarded scholarships totaling $77,500, with an average grant amount of $3,500.

52 percent of WKU applicants who worked with the Office of Scholar Development were declared awardees. This selection rate is more than twice as high as the 24.4% national average over the previous five years for the Gilman Scholarship.

100% of the award recipients are Pell Grant qualified students, 68% are students of color, 55% are first-generation college students, 9% are students with disabilities, and 9% are enrolled at one of WKU’s regional campuses. These recipients of the award are representative of the diversity of WKU.

22 students were awarded funding, including the following: 

Cecilia Alali of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is the daughter of Annmary Riunguand Benson Alali. She is a public relations major with a minor in sales. She received the scholarship and the supplemental Critical Need Language Award to study in Kenya in Summer 2024.  

Bobbi Coffee of Louisville is an English major with a minor in creative writing. Bobbi will complete a bachelor’s degree through study abroad in the United Kingdom in Fall 2024. 

Maurice Davenport of Olmstead is the husband of Shatoyia Davenport and the son of Satara Dunlop and the late Maurice Davenport, Sr. He is a social work major and received the scholarship to study in Tanzania in Summer 2024.  

Ahria Dunn of Lexington is the daughter of Alma Dunn and Terry Newby. Ahria is an elementary education major and received the scholarship to complete student teaching in Germany in Spring 2024. 

Bethany Galloway of Owensboro is a social work major. A student at WKU in Owensboro, she received the scholarship to study in the United Kingdom in Summer 2024. 

JC Guzman-Perkins Jof Glasgow is the son of Amanda Perkins. He is a religious studies major with a minor in Chinese and a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). He received the scholarship to study in South Korea in Winter 2024.

Shiphrah Hallman of Bethpage, Tennessee is the daughter of David and Billie Hallman. She is a Chinese and graphic design double major with certificates in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) and Spanish. She received the Gilman-Taiwan Scholarship to study in Taiwan in Summer 2024. 

Cassandra Key of Leitchfield is an elementary education major. She received the scholarship to complete her student teaching in Ireland in Spring 2024. 

Thang Lian of Myanmar is the son of John Kai and Vung Niang. A military science and organizational leadership double major with a minor in psychology, he received the scholarship to study in Thailand in Summer 2024.  

Mary Man of Bowling Green is the daughter of Thang Mung and Dim Hung. She is an international affairs and organizational leadership double major. She received the scholarship to study in Thailand in Summer 2024. 

Emily Miller of Shepherdsville is the daughter of Melissa Miller. Emily is a psychology and health sciences major with a minor in clinical and community behavioral health, and she received the scholarship to study in Austria in Summer 2024.  

Shivani Patel of Somerset is the daughter of Asmita and Dhiren Patel. She is a biology major with a minor in psychology pursuing a career as a physician assistant. She received the scholarship to study in India in Summer 2024. 

Htee Paw of Bowling Green is a triple major in political science, professional legal studies, and corporate and organizational communication. She received the scholarship to study in Thailand in Summer 2024. 

Tiara Shellman of Atlanta, Georgia is the daughter of Shawanna Johnson and the granddaughter of Elyane Johnson. She is a corporate and organizational communication major with a minor in legal studies. She received the scholarship to study in Japan in Summer 2024. 

De’Naleigh Starks-Scott of Providence is the daughter of Shannon Starks and Gary Scott and the granddaughter of Deborah Starks. She is a social work major and received the scholarship to study in Tanzania in Summer 2024. 

Theresa Thomas of Louisville is the daughter of Trinita and Rodney Thomas. She is a marketing major with a certificate inapplied data analytics, and she received the scholarship to study in the United Kingdom in Fall 2024.  

Win Tun is a nursing major. She received the scholarship to study in South Korea in Summer 2024. 

Braxton Turner of Bowling Green is a finance and management double major with a concentration in global business. He received the scholarship to study in Germany in Spring 2024.  

Avery Wells of Louisville is the son of Andre and Antissa Wells. He is a political science major with a minor in Africana studies. He received the scholarship to study in Senegal in Summer 2024.  

Meara Wilcox of Louisville is the daughter of Erin Grant and Chris Wilcox. She is an environmental, sustainability, and geographic studies major with a minor in music. She received the scholarship to study in Ireland in Summer 2024. 

All of the students recognized worked with Cory Dodds, Lindsey Houchin, and Will Randolph in the Office of Scholar Development at WKU to prepare their Gilman applications and with advisors in the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning to find the best study abroad program to fit their goals.  

The next Gilman Scholarship application cycle opens in mid-January 2024 and closes on March 7, 2024. Students interested in studying or interning abroad during these terms may apply: 

  • Summer 2024 
  • Fall 2024 
  • Winter 2024/2025 
  • Spring 2025 

Interested students are encouraged to connect with the Office of Scholar Development at WKU and the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning throughout the winter and early spring semester. 

About The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship (Gilman): Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman Scholarship program funds internships or study abroad programs for undergraduate Pell Grant recipients. Since 2001, the Gilman Scholarship has enabled more than 41,000 Americans to study in countries around the world, representing diverse backgrounds including ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, and first-generation college students. 

About the Office of Scholar Development (OSD)OSD mentors students applying for national scholarships to fund “academic extras” such as study abroad, research, professional experience, and more. From first drafts to final submissions with multiple revisions in between, OSD helps students make more possible. By conceptualizing and revising the stories they tell in application essays, students better understand their strengths, interests, and purpose—and explore multiple possible pathways to that work.  

About WKU GlobalWKU Global serves the WKU community by engaging students, faculty and staff in diverse, educational and cultural experiences through faculty-led, exchange, consortia and other study abroad opportunities. 

Contact: Lindsey Houchin at 

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