Tuesday, May 22, 2018
  Awards and Recognitions

By Amanda Taylor

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Sixteen UTRGV students have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships that will take them to diverse parts of the world for their Study Abroad courses this summer.

The 16 students, from across the Rio Grande Valley – to include McAllen, Mission, La Grulla, Weslaco, Edinburg, Donna, San Juan, Palmview, San Benito and Roma – will travel in a variety of different trips to Ireland, Brazil, Germany, China, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Peru and the United Kingdom.

The Gilman is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students who wish to study or intern abroad to broaden their scope on international affairs and economic competitiveness.

Alan Earhart, director of UTRGV’s International Programs and Partnerships within the Office of Global Engagement, said the Gilman scholarship provides UTRGV students with wonderful opportunities.

“The purpose of the scholarship is to provide support to students who would not normally be able to participate in a study abroad program due to lack of funding,” he said. “It is for this reason that the Office of Global Engagement and the Honors College have been actively supporting students with their applications.”

Earhart said they also have provided workshops and feedback for students on their essays.

“We are very pleased that these students have won the scholarship this year, as studying abroad has profound effects on students,” he said.


Gerardo Segundo, a San Benito resident, said he worked hard on his application essays in order to properly describe his anticipation for traveling abroad.

“This three-week trip to Ireland is extremely exciting because it will be my first time traveling to Europe,” the UTRGV theatre major said. “The course I’m enrolled in is Irish Plays and Playwrights, with Dr. Brian Warren. I think this trip will be an invaluable experience because it will expose me to people and a culture I would never truly get to see where I live.”

Segundo said that he is still deciding what he wants to do after graduating in spring 2019, but plans to pursue other internship possibilities to continue his educational growth.

Maraya Garcia, an Edinburg resident, said her coming trip to Cusco, Peru, will enable her to completely immerse herself in a new culture and expand her perspective on globalization.

“I will be taking two courses in Alpine Ecosystems in the Peruvian Andes, an honors course, and Topics in Art History,” the UTRGV biological sciences major said.

“I believe that allowing myself to meet and live amongst different people will only make me that much better of a person, especially since I am also an aspiring physician,” Garcia said.

Samuel Cavazos, an Edinburg resident and an exercise science major, will be going to Scotland to study Family and Disability with Dr. Bruce Reed, from the UTRGV School of Rehabilitation Services and Counseling.

As an aspiring occupational therapist, Cavazos said, the experiences will be valuable for the future.

“I will experience new cultures and see historical sites, learn from rehabilitation leaders and agencies, and gain a new perspective of how the disabled population lives in another country,” the UTRGV junior said.

“I know this trip will inspire me and make me a better advocate for the disabled community. I believe that every young person should travel if they can and take advantage of the financial aid that is available,” he said.

For more information on the Gilman Scholarship, contact Lizette Leal in the Office of International Programs and Partnerships, (956) 665-3572, or email lizette.leal01@utrgv.edu.


The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and internships are available during the spring, summer, fall or academic year term. The scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. The Institute of International Education has administered the program since its inception in 2001.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.