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Five Bennett College students awarded Gilman Scholarships


Bennett College students Carmyn Brown, Marcinia Johnson, Cambridge Jones, Ashley Robinson and Michaela Zeno were among 900 undergraduate students across the U.S. selected to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad through the end of 2021.

“It’s well-deserved. These five women’s leadership, scholarship, and essays made them outstanding candidates,” said Dr. Anne Hayes, executive director of Global & Interdisciplinary Studies. “They exemplify what we hope to see from all of our students — determination, intellectual curiosity, and the willingness to try something new. I love that they set this big goal for themselves and fiercely pursued it. We are very proud.”

The Congressionally funded Gilman Scholarship Program successfully broadens the U.S. student population by providing scholarships to outstanding undergraduate Pell Grant recipients who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise study or intern abroad. The Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 or up to $8,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. Since the program’s establishment in 2001, more than 1,300 U.S. institutions have sent more than 33,000 Gilman Scholars of diverse backgrounds to 151 countries worldwide.

Due to the pandemic, the Gilman Program is committed to safety and flexibility. The program will provide alternative program options by permitting students to defer to the end of 2021 or support a virtual study abroad or international internship program.

Carmyn Brown, a junior double majoring in political science and mathematics, chose to study abroad in Cairo, Egypt, citing she wanted to experience the rich culture, history and learn a new language. “I am honored to have been selected to be a Gilman Scholar,” commented Carmyn Brown. “This is an experience of a lifetime, and I intend to make the most out of it.” As a campus leader, Brown wants to use her Gilman Scholarship experience to encourage other Belles to study abroad. During her time abroad, she wants to learn and find ways to impact the community and reduce climate change.

Marcinia Johnson, a junior political science major, chose to study abroad in France. “I am genuinely grateful and honored to have won the Gilman Scholarship,” said Johnson. “I now have the opportunity to learn, travel and experience a culture different from mine, which will impact my career as a defense attorney.” As an African American woman and examining racism here in America, it is essential for Johnson to showcase Black excellence globally. Johnson has selected the French Cultural language program offered in Toulouse, France. “Through my selected program, I would be more motivated to perfect my communicative skills and achieve my goal of becoming fluent in French,” commented Johnson.

Cambridge Jones, a pre-med junior, chose to study abroad in Costa Rica for the fall 2021 semester. “I am very excited to have received this incredible scholarship to study abroad. I’ve always wanted to study abroad, and this scholarship will help fund my goal I have before graduating in 2022,” said Jones. “I am very thankful to be a recipient of such an esteemed scholarship. I can now experience the Costa Rican culture, further my educational career, and study another language. In my experiences, I look forward to sharing with my Bennett sisters and hope they take the same leap of faith.” Jones choose Costa Rica as an opportunity to linguistically advance in her studying the Spanish language, which would afford her the ability to care for patients in her career.

Ashley Robinson, a senior social work major, will study abroad in Barcelona during the 2020-21 academic year. “The Gilman Scholarship is not only something I am very proud of but shows me the true meaning of hard work pays off,” commented Robinson. “I applied for the scholarship the cycle before, but unfortunately, I didn’t put in the needed efforts that qualified me for the scholarship. I was devastated but promised myself that the next cycle, I would be one of the selected. With my commitment to myself, Dr. Anne Hayes and Ms. Sarah’s dedication to assisting me, my application turned out to be more than what I could imagine — I am thrilled to be selected for this scholarship recipient cycle. When coming to Bennett College and learning about all the study abroad opportunities, I thought these opportunities were beyond my reach. However, hearing the experiences of my fellow students, I was motivated to reach out more.” Robinson selected to join the Precious Pearls organization for a four-week Business and Culture program.

Michaela Zeno, a junior journalism and media studies major, will study abroad in the Czech Republic. “I am still in awe and feel extremely blessed to have been chosen to receive this prestigious scholarship,” said Michaela Zeno. “To know that I am a part of future leaders looking to make a difference in the global economy is truly an honor.” As an outstanding community leader on campus, Zeno has been named Miss Junior 2020-21 School Year, Miss Alpha Lambda Delta and President of the National Council of Negro Women. “When deciding where to study, I consulted with my Global Studies Advisor, Ms. Sarah. Although there were many choices, I chose a country that would show a coherent link between my current program of study, academic future and career plans, as well as my personal development goals. As a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship will help support these goals’ achievement as the program encourages students to study in various countries,” added Zeno.