11 January 2024 Five Students Earn Coveted Gilman International Scholarships

HWS students are recipients of the U.S. Department of State’s 2024 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships.

This year, Richie Centeno ’25, Randall Dominguez ’26, Hannah Huston ’25, Marjorie Plants ’25 and Brooke Prochniak ’25 have been honored as awardees of the 2024 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the highly competitive program provides up to $5,000 for students to study or intern abroad. Those applying for funding through the Gilman International Scholar program must complete a rigorous application process involving essays and a proposal for a project to be completed upon returning to the U.S.

“This is a great group of students and their applications shined among a national pool of applicants,” says Amy Teel, Program Operations Manager of the HWS Center for Global Education. “They have a wide range of interests and I can’t wait to see them immersed in countries around the world.”

Associate Director of the Center for Global Education Colleen Kolb agrees. “The students should be proud of the initiative they took to advance their learning. I am thrilled that we have recipients participating in both semester and short-term study abroad programs.”

Richie Centeno '25 (left) and HWS students studying in Cuba.

Richie Centeno '25 (left), Randall Dominguez ’26 (second, right) and HWS students gather for a photo while studying abroad in Cuba.

Centeno and Dominguez are joining the HWS J-Term to Cuba, a three-week program led by Professor of Sociology Jack Harris.

A double major in Africana and American studies, Centeno is looking forward to the opportunity to study the “richly layered national identity and history” of Cuba.

“I am beyond grateful that the Gilman review committee recognized how studying Afro-Latinx culture in Cuba might expand my contributions one day as a scholar and global citizen. That kind of endorsement gives me confidence that I’m on the right track and asking the right questions as I chart my educational path,” Centeno says.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to experience a culture in a country that many Americans are not allowed to visit, and plan to make the most of my experience,” Dominguez adds. 

Hannah Huston ’25

Hannah Huston ’25

Dominguez is a history major. As a native Spanish speaker, he’s looking forward to speaking with Cuban locals about their lived experiences. “I firmly believe that understanding different cultures and perspectives can help build a better understanding of the events and people that shaped the world as we know it.”

Huston, an environmental studies and sociology double major, will study in Copenhagen, Denmark. On campus, she’s a member of the William Smith field hockey team.

Grateful for the Gilman Scholarship’s support, Huston reflects on the program’s impact. “The Gilman works to defy socially constructed binds of socioeconomic status and financial ability that hinder so many people’s abilities when it comes to education and cultural experience,” she says.


Brooke Prochniak '25

Prochniak will study abroad in Lisbon, Portugal this spring. A media and society major with double minors in entrepreneurial leadership and American studies, Prochniak says she’s excited for the opportunity to pursue comparative studies while embedded in Lisbon’s “vibrant, friendly and eclectic city.”

“I am confident that this experience will give me a once in a lifetime opportunity for personal growth. I feel very honored to be a Gilman participant and understand the responsibilities of being a steward of the United States while overseas,” she says.

Marjorie Plants

Marjorie Plants '25

Plants will study abroad in the Czech Republic this spring. An economics major with a minor in entrepreneurial studies, Plants is looking forward to studying at the Charles University’s Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education.

“The Gilman Scholarship allows me to explore my own personal growth while gaining an understanding of a different culture without worrying about my financial burden,” she says.

In the photo above, bridges light up the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic.