Thursday, June 13, 2019
  Student Life, Awards and Recognitions

By Priscilla Ramirez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Eighteen UTRGV students from across the Rio Grande Valley have been awarded  Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to fund their studies abroad this summer.

Destinations include China, Peru, Japan, South Korea, France, Italy, Ireland and Spain, where students will study arts and sciences in a hands-on environment that provides submersion into the language and culture.

This year marks the highest number of Gilman Scholarships awarded to UTRGV students since the first UTRGV applications were submitted in 2017. That year, 12 UTRGV students were awarded Gilman scholarships, with the number increasing to 16 in 2018. 

The Gilman Scholarship Program is a part of the state’s  Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and enables students to gain knowledge in languages and customs when limited finances otherwise would prevent these educational opportunities.

To help those interested in studying abroad, UTRGV’s  International Programs & Partnerships within the  Office of Global Engagement holds workshops for students and their guardians to provide information about study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship.

Alan Earhart, director of International Programs & Partnerships, said UTRGV efforts to help students find funding for experiences abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year has been important to the university’s core commitment to student success.

“This year, the awards are 18 Gilman scholarships for about $65,000,” he confirmed. “In the UT System, we are second for the number of scholarships awarded, after UT Austin.”

This is the  second consecutive year UTRGV has held that position in the UT System for most Gilman Scholarships.

Earhart said the department is pleased with the results Gilman applicants have, and hopes to better those results next year.

“The International Programs and Partnerships office, together with the  Honors Program at UTRGV, have promoted the Gilman Scholarship heavily over the past three years,” he said. “My goal is to soon capture $100,000 in Gilman Scholarships each year for UTRGV students.”

For more information about the Gilman Scholarship, contact Lizette Leal in the Office of International Programs & Partnerships at 956-665-3572, or email




  • Hortencia Montemayor, graphic design, Pharr.
  • Alejandra Ramirez, political science, Brownsville.


  • Mario Lujano, history, Alamo.
  • Yaritza Yaharia Marin, Mexican American studies, Weslaco.
  • Emma Martinez, chemistry, San Juan.


  • Jaquelin Duenez, social work, Hidalgo.
  • John Marroquin, computer science, Edinburg.
  • Derick Reyna, history, Mission.


  • Gabriel Figueroa, exercise science, Rio Hondo.
  • Maricruz Flores, electrical engineering, Edinburg.
  • Claire Hsjeh, psychology, McAllen.
  • Rodrigo Padron, biology, McAllen.


  • Samantha Garcia, psychology, Pharr.
  • Felipe Karr, mass communication, Weslaco.


  • Yaritza Anita Arredondo, political science, Rio Grande City.
  • Monica Varela, art, Edinburg.


  • Alexandra Salinas, mechanical engineering, Mission.


  • Luz Del Carmen Resendez, criminal justice, Brownsville.


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.