Two Students Earn Gilman Scholarships to Study Abroad

Meredith College students Kristen Gallagher and Sarah Phillips earned Benjamin A. Gilman scholarships for 2011. The Gilman award is a prestigious national scholarship that supports students studying abroad.
Kristen Gallagher used her award for a summer 2011 study abroad experience in Cambodia. She was based in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her program included a required class, Cambodian History and Culture, and an elective called Nation Building, which covered the political history, economic situation, and current issues in Cambodia.

“The two courses pair very well with my summer research examining possible ways in which contemporary Cambodian artists use elements of ecology (nature, plants, landscape) to communicate trauma in their art,” Gallagher said. “The research is a continuation of a Spring 2011 independent study course that I designed.”

Gallagher, a junior from Charlotte, N.C., will continue her interest in Cambodia during the Fall 2011 semester by organizing a lecture or video conference series on Meredith’s campus.

“The series will discuss current Cambodian issues, art and monument conservation, and education in Cambodia,” Gallagher said.

Sarah Phillips will use her award for a fall 2011 study abroad experience in Morocco. She will participate in a SIT Study Abroad program in migration and transnational identity, based in Rabat, Morocco.

Phillips is looking forward to exploring Moroccan culture and to the challenge of learning Arabic.

“During our time in Morocco, we will have the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, places that have a high number of Moroccan immigrants, to see the "other side" of migration,” Phillips explained. “We will visit with local government and UN officials to discuss the cost and benefits of them migrating to The Netherlands.”

Phillips said she chose the SIT program to better understand the process of immigration from governmental and social perspectives.

“Rapid globalization has made the concept of transnational identity prevalent in many countries. For example in the U.S., I feel as though as a society as a whole, we are extremely critical of people who migrate to the U.S. (legally or illegally),” Phillips said. “Associated with those criticisms is the idea that immigrants to the U.S. take jobs, or they are a drain on the American economy. This program focuses on the why Moroccans immigrate to Europe, specifically to The Netherlands, and it focuses on these criticisms.”

Phillips is a senior from Silver Springs, Md., earning a degree in international studies, and religious & ethical studies. After graduate school, she hopes to work in the public sector or for an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that focuses on human rights.

About the Gilman Award
The Gilman award is named in honor of former U.S. Congressional Representative Benjamin A. Gilman. Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study abroad costs. These costs include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare.

This congressionally funded program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education through its Southern Regional Center in Houston, Texas.

For more information on Meredith College study abroad opportunities, visit

Date Submitted: 2011-07-26

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