10 Wildcats chosen to study abroad on Gilman Scholarship – UKNow

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 23, 2022) Ten University of Kentucky were awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to support their education abroad goals.
The Gilman Scholarship supports students who have been traditionally under-represented in study abroad, including but not limited to, students with high financial need, community college students, students in under-represented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds and students with disabilities. Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award — ranging from $100 to $5,000 — to defray the cost of tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare.
The congressionally funded scholarship is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education.
The UK recipients of the Gilman Scholarship include:
Two of UK’s recipients chose to remain anonymous.
Alexis Farmer, who is pursuing a minor in modern and classical languages, literatures and cultures/Chinese studies in addition to her anthropology degree, is advancing her language skills through the Gilman.
“This scholarship will allow me to … further my language acquisition in Chinese. Thailand has many native Chinese speakers. Being able to study Chinese in Thailand, and having daily access to classes, local speakers and study materials in my target language will help me become more proficient using Mandarin in the workplace after graduation. Studying abroad will also allow me to network with locals and professors to gain experience in my field.”
At UK, Farmer has been active in the UK Anthropology Club and Chinese Club and is a UK CLIME Ambassador. This summer she worked at the Webb Museum of Anthropology and helped co-author research with mentors Elena Sesma, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology, and Ann Kingsolver, Ph.D., professor of anthropology, published in a special issue of Southern Anthropologist. Farmer also counts Juliana McDonald, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology; Sihui Ke, Ph.D., assistant professor of second language acquisition; and Pat Whitlow, Ph.D., director of UK’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, as being influential in her studies.
After graduating, Farmer is considering pursing a master’s degree in anthropology and opportunities for research abroad.
Kaitlyn Johnson is minoring in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino studies in addition to her language and linguistics track of Spanish. She believes the Gilman offers a variety of opportunities to study abroad, network internationally and pursue future opportunities like a Fulbright or government employment.
Passionate about Latin American culture, Johnson has been active in research on the implications of climate change in the region and the impact of colonization on the African diaspora in the Dominican Republic. She credits Jennifer Garlin, her senior academic advisor, for being instrumental in her studies during her time at UK.
After commencement, Johnson hopes to teach English abroad and then return to the U.S. to get her master’s and doctorate degrees in Latin American studies. Her career plans are to become a researcher and professor. 
Brianna Mattingly, a former ambassador in the College of Design, is pursuing a certificate in historic preservation in addition to her degree in architecture. Beyond getting to work abroad with professors from both fields, she is excited for the connections made through the Gilman Scholarship. 
“Getting this award gives me the chance to not only study abroad with funding but gives me many connections for the future. The Gilman Scholarship has a network of recipients and alumni, and they help one another out when it comes to future scholarships and careers,” Mattingly explained. “This scholarship means not only travel and networking opportunities, but memories I will only get to have once with all of my friends in a whole new country.”
Several architecture faculty have influenced Mattingly since freshman year, including Jason Scroggin, M.S., associate professor, and Jordan Hines, M.Arch., architecture instructor, as well as members of Lexington’s NOMI Design team.
“Each and every professor in the College of Design becomes your friend after a while just because of the community we have. I would have to give a huge shoutout to Sipera Simons, who has the most positive attitude each and every day, and without fail, I can go and talk to them about whatever I need to any time of the day.”
After graduation, Mattingly will pursue a master’s degree in architecture and a graduate certificate in historic preservation.
Leanna McCarty, who is pursing degrees in linguistics and anthropology, used the Gilman to participate in the 2022 Juvenile Osteology Research Workshop in preparation for graduate school. “These experiences will stay with me for the rest of my life,” she stated.
At UK, McCarty has been doing research with Renee Bonzani, Ph.D., senior lecturer in anthropology, on stable isotope analysis of deer and dog bones to analyze whether they were eating maize during certain time periods.
McCarty credits Sesma, as well as assistant professors of anthropology Heather Worne, Ph.D., and Celise Chilcote-Fricker, Ph.D., as having an impact on her chosen academic path guiding her through college selections for graduate school, programs to apply for, and everyday class questions. “I wouldn’t be where I am, or able to accept this scholarship, without them.”
Upon completion of her degree, McCarty plans to pursue a master’s degree in forensics or biological anthropology and linguistics. “I may even go on to obtain my Ph.D. in the topics as well. I will never stop wanting to learn more, and who’s to say I have to stop?”
Architecture student Ryan Sistrunk will use his Gilman to help gain experience to one day fulfill his passion for “transforming cities into better spaces and creating a new way of life for people.”
A NOMAS and ACE Mentor Program participant, Sistrunk credits Maynard Leon, partner at AÄ MÄ Studio, and Liz Swanson, M.Arch., associate professor of architecture, as the best influences on his studies.
Sistrunk plans to attend graduate school after commencement.
Gilman Scholar Rebecca Stalcup studied sex trafficking with her funding this summer. “I spent the first three weeks in Stockholm, Sweden, studying human trafficking. Then, I spent two weeks in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a one-week study tour in Amsterdam studying prostitution and the sex trade.”
A former officer of UK’s Human Health Sciences Student Organization, Stalcup credits Christy Brady, Ph.D., assistant professor of human health sciences, and Ok-Kyong Park-Sarge, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology in the College of Medicine, as being influential in her decision to study abroad and pursue other academic endeavors.
Upon completion of her degree, Stalcup’s goal is to attend UK College of Medicine.
“My goal is to help those who have been negatively impacted due to marginalization and bring their voices to the forefront of medicine. I hope to be an advocate for these patients and help the medical community see the need in certain populations particularly women’s health care.”
Daniela Torres-Gomez is using her Gilman Scholarship in the U.K. to enhance her leadership skills on a global level to prepare her for her business endeavors one day.
“I have the dream of being a chief executive officer of my own restaurant franchise in the near future,” said Torres-Gomez, whose family’s business and Mexican culture inspired her. “My studies will help me achieve this and share my culinary art along with my leadership expertise with the world.”
Torres-Gomez counts lecturer Conrad Davies; Laurence Tuccori, advisor and director of Exchange & Direct Programs at the UK International Center; and Deirdra Reber, Ph.D., associate professor of Latin American culture, as the great influences on her time at UK.
After commencement, Torres-Gomez plans to pursue an MBA at UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics.
The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for internships, external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These awards honor exceptional students across the nation. The next Gilman Scholarship deadline is Oct. 6. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to contact the office well in advance of the scholarship deadline.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for” three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Employers.”  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.

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