Five Hobart and William Smith students have been selected for the prestigious U.S. Department of State Benjamin Gilman Scholarship to support independent research and scholarship while they study abroad during the fall semester.
Tolulope Arasanyin ’21, Alyssa Capuano ’21, Connor Parrow ’21, Mouhamed Thiam ’20 and Sheila Uria-Veliz ’21 each received up to $5,000 through the highly competitive national grant program. To be selected as a Gilman Scholar, each student completed a rigorous application process, requiring several essays and a proposal for a project upon returning to the U.S.
“We are so pleased that five of our students’ achievements were recognized and that so many were awarded Gilman scholarships in this cycle,” says Amy Teel, program manager at the HWS Center for Global Education. “For some students, study abroad would not even be a possibility without the extra financial support this grant provides. Our scholars all put together outstanding applications, reflecting their academic achievement, deep interest in their host country and culture abroad, and the challenges they have overcome to achieve their goals. We are very proud of them.”
In Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam, Arasanyin plans to study the country’s “transition from colonialism to communism. While looking at Vietnamese cultural architecture I hope to unpack/document a complex history of Vietnam through pictures.”
After her time abroad, Capuano, who will also study in Vietnam, plants to return to her high school in Elma, N.Y., to share her experiences with current students there. “I was once in their same position and I know how profound the experience of moving away from that little town is. I hope in sharing my experience of not only moving away from my hometown but also receiving a global education, they can gain the insight to see that they too can branch out from the small rural town of Elma and they really can do some miraculous things,” she says.
A biology major, Parrow will study in Copenhagen, Denmark. In Copenhagen, Parrow will be enrolled in the Medical Practice core, which will include course work relating to human health and disease, as well as the opportunity to visit hospitals and clinics and observe alternative medical practice while experiencing a socialist medical system firsthand. Parrow is the recipient of the William Ross Proctor Prize in Mathematics.
While in Hong Kong, Thiam will explore ways of “helping minorities travel to foreign places and immerse themselves in another culture. I look forward to gaining experience so that I can share this new cultural experience with the disenfranchised young.”
In Brussels, Belgium, where Uria-Veliz will intern with the expat newspaper The Brussels Times, her Gilman Scholarship funding will support a blog exploring Brussels’ music scene. “In journalistic fashion,” she says, “my project for Gilman consists of maintaining a blog where I will write about my interactions with other musicians in the city.”
The Colleges’ study abroad program was recently ranked third in the nation in the 2020 edition of The Princeton Review’s Best 385 Colleges, marking four years in a row that HWS has been a top-10 study abroad school (No. 7 in 2017 and No. 1 in the 2018 and 2019 editions).
The first photo, featuring Prague Castle at sunset, was taken by Tanner Poisson ’19 while he was studying abroad.