HAMPTON, VA (June 27, 2019) – Two Hampton University undergraduate students have been awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad.
“Here at Hampton University, we encourage our students to ‘Dream No Small Dreams,’ and these two ladies have done just that. This type of success should encourage other students to reach their fullest potential,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
The two students are Kiyanna Thomas and Ayana Culhane.
Kiyanna Thomas is a junior, Biology major on the Pre-Med track from New Jersey.
“On my journey to pursuing an MD/MPH, I wanted to expose myself to new environments and different cultures so that I can ultimately become more culturally competent and gain a unique perspective as a future clinician and public health innovator. The Gilman Scholarship has given me the opportunity to do just that. I will be going to Cape Coast, Ghana where I will be shadowing doctors at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital,” said Thomas. “This is an opportunity for me to learn about Coastal Ghana’s rich history as it is home to the Cape Coast Slave Castle and will serve as an opportunity for personal growth and education about my past history, origin, and culture. While in Ghana, I hope to impact the community that I am visiting, as well as make everlasting connections with the people that I meet.”
Ayana Culhane is a junior, Psychology major, Spanish minor from Galloway, New Jersey.
“Receiving the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship means the world to me, because it means access to an opportunity to expand cultural horizons and further personal career goals. I’ve really been blessed with the Gilman scholarship to check a dream off of my list to study abroad for the first time,” said Culhane. “I plan to use this scholarship to add to my pursuit of fluency in the Spanish language. I hope to use this ability of being bilingual to extinguish the language barriers that tend to separate communities of color, in efforts to offer resources of counseling and rehabilitation that minority groups often have no access to. I’m extremely excited, and the Gilman has really become the first step to accomplishing dreams I’ve had for a long time now.”
Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad, and the countries and regions where they go. Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies -- making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.
Late Congressman Benjamin Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee, and who the scholarship is named after, once commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”
The prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.