Four study abroad students from College of San Mateo (CSM) and Skyline College were awarded a total of $19,000 from the U.S. Department of State’s Gilman International Scholarship (March 2023 application cycle).

Two of them are Skyline College students, Philip G. and Atiyana A. The other two winners are Jeramy V. and Jared S. from CSM. Eight SMCCCD students applied and four were awarded – an award rate of 50%, which has been the case for SMCCCD in the past few years. This is the second time for Philip to win the scholarship. Congratulations to the winners and Gilman scholars!

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The program “enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity,” according to IIE.

SMCCCD Study Abroad housed in the Division of Global Learning Programs and Services (GLPS) has been promoting the Gilman Scholarship. The staff hosted a Gilman Scholarship Workshop and Luncheon in Building 6 at Skyline College on February 13, 2023. The goal was to help the SMCCCD students learn about the federal funding for study abroad and the study abroad programs offered by SMCCCD. GLPS Interim Dean, Zaid Ghori invited Dr. Melissa Moreno, former Skyline College President and now Interim Chancellor of SMCCCD, and Dr. Vinicio Lopez, Vice President of Instruction to welcome the participants. Both emphasized the significance of study abroad and its contribution to building Skyline College as a community of global learners, which is the College’s educational mission. Dr. Lopez even shared his own study abroad experience and good memories. They celebrated Skyline College’s great achievements in study abroad scholarship advising with the participants. Skyline College was announced as “the number one college among U.S. community colleges that sent the most scholars abroad through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program during academic year 2020-2021” by the U.S. Department of State in October 2022. Its applicant acceptance rate was much higher than the national acceptance rate.

Three students, Philip G., Chris W., and Veronica S. were invited to serve on the Gilman Scholar Panel to share their recent Gilman application and study abroad experience. They all gained a lot from the application process and are willing to help other students to win the scholarship. They shared that they made good use of resources (study abroad office, writing services, etc.) on campus to improve the quality of the required essays (Statement of Purpose and two community impact essays – the Building Mutual Understanding Essay and the Follow-on Service Project Proposal). Philip and Veronica were able to use part of the scholarship they won to attend a virtual program in Japan. In addition to the improved writing skills, they gained life-long friendship through the study abroad program. The Gilman experience has great impact on their personal growth and career development.

The SMCCCD Study Abroad and three study abroad faculty leaders offered information about the Fall 2023 Barcelona Program (to be led by Prof. Jeremy Ball), the Spring 2024 Florence Program (to be led by Prof. Jessica Marshall), and the Fall 2024 London Program (to be led by Prof. Lindsey Ayotte), global internship programs, and transfer abroad services. The study abroad office offered one-on-one Gilman Scholarship advising sessions. Students were encouraged to reach out to the study abroad office and the three professors to learn more about Gilman and the semester study abroad programs.

SMCCCD Study Abroad is the district-wide study abroad program housed in the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. For more information about studying or interning abroad, faculty teach abroad opportunities, community travel for lifelong learners, visiting international faculty presenters and student scholarship opportunities, please contact Dr. Alice Yang at You can also learn more by visiting the SMCCD Study Abroad Facebook page or the SMCCCD Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad.

Article by Alice Yang | Photo by Alice Yang

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