It’s been an amazing couple of months being an Alumni Ambassador for the Gilman Scholarship and seeing that a new year is about to start, I felt it was appropriate to reflect on what has been accomplished thus far. The Gilman Scholarship funded my study abroad trip to Surabaya, Indonesia in the summer of 2019.
The fascinating place that is the Gilman Scholar network has provided scholars the opportunity to connect and share with alumni all around the world. It has been an interesting experience doing all of my outreach through Zoom meetings and other online meeting platforms. I knew I wanted to dedicate my time and efforts to the study abroad office at Miami Dade College since they helped me out tremendously when I was applying for the Gilman Scholarship. I worked with dedicated individuals at the international office who all did an amazing job setting up Gilman Info sessions for me to lead. They even hosted two successful virtual study abroad fairs which I had the privilege of attending. I made myself as available as possible and even participated in panels and think tanks for the Honors College at MDC where I graduated from in 2019. Gabriela Esteves, who is the director of the Global Student Programs, recently notified that five MDC students were awarded the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in the summer of 2021. This was such great news for Gabriela and me, and now we are setting a meeting in January to meet up with our five Gilman Scholars and for me to offer my mentorship. I hope to see students studying abroad to Surabaya, Indonesia with Dr. Lenaghan and taking advantage of the amazing opportunities that come after returning home.
It has given students more accessibility to be able to log into a meeting from home so that they can learn more about the Gilman Scholarship and study abroad programs. I am grateful to be a part of such a strong Gilman Alumni community even through a pandemic. The Gilman Scholarship has such an active and strong presence on social media which makes it easy to share information about deadlines and upcoming activities. It is even more amazing to see Gilman alumni taking initiative and creating groups in the Gilman Scholar Network, doing podcasts and virtual networking hours. All the Gilman Alumni Ambassadors this year have been so helpful whenever anyone has a question. I always look forward to our meetings every month and hearing about all the wonderful outreach that is happening all over the country. It motivates me to keep reaching out to host more Gilman Info sessions and connect with future Gilman Scholars. The best part of being a member of the Gilman Alumni community is having a lifelong network of friends with different disciplines and similar interests. As someone who hopes to do a Fulbright sometime during my career, I love being able to reach out to Gilman Scholars who also did a Fulbright. This goes for anything such as job searching, grad school applications, and scholarship applications. I hope the year 2021 provides us with many more opportunities to connect near and far.