December 11, 2015 | News, Spring 2016

Elenore Zuniga (Spring 2015 Gilman awardee from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program/Hunter College in Costa Rica. Photo from E. Zuniga

Elenore Zuniga (Spring 2015 Gilman awardee from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program/Hunter College in Costa Rica. Photo from E. Zuniga

With fourteen winners across seven colleges, CUNY students have received the most Gilman scholarship awards on the East Coast. CUNY students from Baruch College, Brooklyn College, City College, the College of Staten Island, Hunter College, and John Jay College, and the Macaulay Honors College will be heading to destinations as varied as China, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Spain and Taiwan. Each student will spend a full semester immersed in the host culture while continuing their studies abroad.

This outstanding performance echoes the record set in the summer of 2015, when twenty-one CUNY students were awarded Gilman scholarships for summer study abroad, also topping the East Coast, and the Borough of Manhattan Community College had the most awardees of any community college nationwide. These tips for a successful application were provided by Elenore Zuniga, a Hunter/CUNY BA student who studied abroad in Costa Rica in spring 2015 with a Gilman scholarship.

According to Jim Airozo, University Director of Academic Awards and Honors, strategic planning can push strong applications to the top in this competitive program, which “gives preference to less common study abroad destinations, …[has] a growing interest in engaging community college students, and…[wants] to see applicants stretch themselves—for example, senior college applicants tend to fare better if they propose to study abroad for at least a semester. Our advisors put tremendous effort into educating students about these specifics and helping them make strategic choices about study abroad options, and the results are a wonderful tribute to their hard work and to the great students that CUNY is sending overseas.”

The Gilman Scholarship is a nationally competitive program which supports promising undergraduates who are traditionally under-represented in education abroad—this can include students with financial limitations, community college students, students in the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, and students with disabilities. “Many CUNY students consider study abroad unavailable to them for financial reasons, but those are precisely the ones who have an edge in the Gilman competition, which is designed exclusively for Pell Grant recipients and makes a special effort to make international programs available to a wider range of students,” said Lucinda Zoe, University Dean for Undergraduate Studies in CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is funded through the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000 and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Through a competitive application process, students can receive grants of up to $5000 to defray costs associated with studying abroad, including program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance, and international airfare.

Spring 2016

  • Saada Amadu, College of Staten Island
  • Genevieve Cen, Hunter College
  • Maria Rosa Castelvetre, Brooklyn College
  • Elainne Diaz, Baruch College
  • Hugo Espinoza, John Jay College
  • Monnero Guervil, John Jay College
  • Jamel Hicks, Baruch College
  • Paul James Leung, Baruch College
  • Hannah McIntyre, City College
  • Saffia Rahimtoola, Macaulay Honors College, City College
  • Jeshaun Richards, John Jay College
  • Arthur Sorensen, Baruch College
  • Christine Zhou, Macaulay Honors College, Baruch College