February 05, 2010
the second year, five St. John’s students are experiencing the
University’s focus on global learning as recipients of prestigious
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships, competitive
federal awards that support high-need students who study
St. John’s continuing success in securing Gilman Scholarships
reflects the University’s commitment to offering every student the
benefits of studying abroad, regardless of financial circumstances.
As a Catholic university in the Vincentian tradition, St. John’s
prepares students to make a positive impact as ethical leaders in
today’s increasingly international society.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships mirror St.
John's own focus on the value of global studies. Created by
Congress in 2000, the program supports students of diverse
backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad
programs, including those of limited financial resources. The
scholarships are named for the former New York congressman,
Congressional delegate to the U.N. and chairman of the House
Committee on International Relations.
St. John’s strong showing comes at a time of soaring interest in
global studies among students and faculty at the University’s five
campuses, said Mark Eckman, Assistant Director of Global Student
Services in the Office of Global Studies.
“This year we had 316 applicants for spring study abroad offerings
— the largest number ever,” said Mr. Eckman. Thanks to growing
faculty interest, students also can look forward to an increase in
study abroad opportunities for this summer, he added.
“At St. John’s, students come first — and the University is
absolutely determined to help each of them experience the
life-changing advantages of studying abroad,” Mr. Eckman
According to Jennifer Campbell, Assistant Director of the Benjamin
A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, St. John’s is among
the nation’s top 50 universities in the number of students who
received Gilman Scholarships this year. Ms. Campbell attributes the
University’s success to its “tremendous” strides in giving students
access to this resource.
“Thanks to St. John’s active outreach efforts, especially in the
Office of Global Studies, more of the University’s students are
applying for Gilman Scholarships,” Ms. Campbell said. “As a result,
there’s been an 84 percent increase in applications from the
The five Gilman recipients are spending their spring semester
abroad through Discover the World, a unique St. John’s program
allowing students to earn 15 credits while studying in three
European cities in one semester.
One student, Shavone Williams ‘12CPS, received a $4,000
scholarship. Four others received $3,500 awards: Annie Chen ‘12C,
Wendy Coral ‘11C, Elizabeth Janson ‘11C and Rachel Suarez
Within Every Student’s
The Office of Global Studies works closely with Student Financial
Services to notify all students about the many resources available
to help meet study abroad costs. Identifying high-need students who
have expressed an interest in studying abroad, the offices use
email blasts, the University’s home page and other forms of
outreach to provide students with access to funding
These efforts are helping more students realize that studying broad
is within their reach, said Rachel Suarez, a 20-year-old psychology
major from Manhattan.
“Finding out about opportunities like the Gilman Scholarship can
make a real difference between going or not going,” she said. “But
the Office of Global Studies is very, very helpful — they do a
great job making us aware of all the possibilities.
For Shavone Williams, a 20-year-old criminal justice major from
Queens, NY, winning a Gilman Scholarship allows her to fulfill a
life-long dream. “This is a fantastic opportunity,” she said. “I’d
always wanted to go to Europe, but money was definitely a concern.
This relieves a lot of the financial pressure.”
There are several reasons why Gilman Scholarships are an ideal
resource for St. John’s students, said Mr. Eckman. “For one thing,”
he explained, “the program targets high-need students—those who
qualify for federal Pell Grants. Serving high-need students of
diverse backgrounds is part of St. John’s mission.”
“At the same time,” he continued, “the Gilman Scholarships are very
selective in terms of the applicant’s academic quality. St. John’s
attracts high-need students of considerable academic
St. John’s and the Gilman program are well-matched in another way
as well. The program aims for more participation by “STEM” majors —
students focusing on the sciences, technology, engineering and
math. “St. John’s has very strong science programs,” Mr. Eckman
noted — “including our nationally acclaimed College of Pharmacy and
Allied Health Professions.”
More Options Than Ever
To be selected, applicants must demonstrate financial need as well
as academic promise. Gilman Scholarships are awarded to
undergraduates who wish to study abroad and demonstrate need as
recipients of federal Pell Grants. As part of their application,
recipients also must write a competitive essay explaining why they
wish to study abroad.
Having reviewed applications himself as a panelist for the Benjamin
A. Gilman Scholarship Program, Mr. Eckman is well-prepared for his
role as one of two Gilman advisors in the Office of Global Studies.
A Gilman advisor also is available in the Office of Student
Currently, students at St. John’s apply their Gilman Scholarships
toward spring semester courses. But all students can take advantage
of the expanded study abroad opportunities, including this summer.
With growing faculty interest in developing study abroad courses,
opportunities for students are plentiful. This summer, students
have more choices than ever — but they must act quickly to take
advantage of them. “If you want a spot, you’ve got to apply as
early as possible,” said Mr. Eckman.
Students can choose from study abroad opportunities throughout
Europe, Asia and Latin America. With St. John’s campuses in Rome,
Italy, and Paris, France, the cost of a semester in those European
capitals compare favorably to a semester’s room and board at the
Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan campuses.
To learn more, visit our Office of Global
Studies online. You also may call or stop by in person:
Office of Global Studies
Phone (718) 990-6105
Staten Island Campus
Rosati Hall, Room 113
Phone (718) 390-4035