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Trojan Zelpha Nelson-Bey awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Published date: May 17, 2017

Zelpha Nelson-BeyVirginia State University (VSU) student Zelpha Nelson-Bey is the latest Trojan to garner the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study abroad.  This summer, she will study Arabic as a participant in the International Studies Abroad (ISA) Language, Culture, and Society program at the ISA Meknes Study Center in Meknes, Morocco.  As an non-traditional student pursuing a bachelor of individualized studies degree in the College of Education, she is also double minoring in finance and agribusiness.

Gilman scholars earn academic credits while gaining cross-cultural perspectives about their fields of study through their immersion experiences in these countries. Nelson-Bey believes this experience will help her reach her goal of becoming trilingual by the time she graduates from VSU.

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward 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.  Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply.  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. 

Since the program’s establishment by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, more than 19,000 students nationwide have received this prestigious award. The scholarship is named after Congressman Benjamin Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee.  Gilman believed that scholarship awardees would “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.”

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