Feb. 11—DAHLONEGA- Five University of North Georgia (UNG) students were named winners of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad in December. The scholarship is presented by the U.S. Department of State to undergraduate students who meet eligibility requirements.
Lily Boland, Alexis Garner, Mauricio Gonzalez, Sydney Griffith, and Osmarie Tolentino are UNG's latest Gilman winners.
Tolentino is from Ochlocknee.
These students each submitted five essays, and they were chosen based on the program impact, community impact, academic preparedness, diversity, and each student's commitment to proficiency in their chosen language.
"For UNG, having Gilman applicants and awardees ensures that our graduates have a diverse skill set and the soft skills necessary to lead successfully in their future careers," Dr. Victoria Hightower, assistant director for the Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS) office, said. "Gilman is one of my favorite scholarships to advise for because it helps build students' confidence as we work through their stories. They learn how they can leverage their resilience, persistence and hard work."
Gonzalez, a freshman, is pursuing a degree in political science. He will study in France and plans to go to law school upon graduating from UNG. Despite having never left his hometown and his Hispanic roots providing him with some familiarity with the French language, Gonzalez believes this trip will help him grow as a leader.
"This trip will get me used to being out of my comfort zone," Gonzalez said. "I'm still in my hometown, and there is only a certain amount of control I have over my own decisions. This trip will allow me to make my own."
Griffith, a junior, is pursuing a degree in biology with a concentration in pre-veterinary medicine, and she is looking forward to her time in Caye, Belize.
"I put a lot of work into the things I choose to do, and I care a lot about the people I work with," Griffith said. "My dad and mom both studied biology. They inspired me the most, but I fell in love with bio in my first class in high school. I'm excited to experience conducting research abroad."
Tolentino, a sophomore, is also pursuing a degree in biology with a minor in Spanish. She will be studying in Argentina.
"If you like the field and it's your calling, take the jump. Think about the end goal and see yourself in the uniform, the doctor's coat," Tolentino said. "With my family being based in medicine, this field has always fascinated me. I look forward to working in a hospital in the International Spanish Academy Program."
Boland will travel to Japan and Garner will travel to New Zealand.
Positioned in the fastest-growing region of the state, the University of North Georgia comprises five campuses united by a single mission focused on academic excellence and academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society. The University of North Georgia is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and is The Military College of Georgia. With more than 18,000 students, the University of North Georgia is one of the state's largest public universities. The university offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from certificate and associate degrees to doctoral programs.