Two students named Gilman Scholars

Author: William G. Gilroy

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

University of Notre Dame students Stephen “Pete” Freeman and Gabriel Higuera have been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study or intern abroad during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Freeman, of Noblesville, Indiana, is a sociology and gender studies major and a Sorin Scholar and Eagan Fellow through the University’s Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE). He will be going to the Rwanda program this fall. Higuera, of Tomball, Texas, is a mechanical engineering major and QuestBridge Scholar. He will be going to the London program.

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.

Congressman Gilman retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee.

“Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates,” he said. “Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to 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.”

The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The full list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available on the institute’s website at

According to Allan Goodman, president and CEO of IIE, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries. It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”

The University’s Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) provides students across the University with opportunities for research, scholarship and creative projects. The center assists them in finding faculty mentors, funding and venues for the publication or presentation of their work. It also promotes applications to national fellowship programs and prepares students in their application process.