VSU student receives scholarship to study in Spain | Community Spirit
VALDOSTA, GA - News release from Valdosta State University
More than 500 students across the United States were awarded funds by the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program to spend the summer studying abroad. Twenty-six of them were from Georgia.
One is studying Spanish at Valdosta State University.
“This will be my first ever study abroad experience,” said Clandra Newson, 22, who left for Cadiz, Spain, on Wednesday, June 27. “I have always wanted to study abroad, since I was in middle school, I believe. Spain was always on my list of places to visit, and to be able to kill two birds with one stone on this study abroad trip is a blessing. I am forever thankful.”
A fifth year senior from Athens, Newson heard about the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program at an ice cream social hosted by Dr. Victoria Russell, an assistant professor in VSU’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages.
“She was giving information about the [study abroad] program and spoke about funding for the program,” said the daughter of Willie and Lori Newson. “The Gilman was one of the bigger scholarships that she spoke about. I was very interested in going on this trip, so if I could get this scholarship, I knew I was going to be able to make it to Spain and study.”
Newson, who graduated from Clarke Central High School in 2008, was awarded $3,500 from the scholarship program.
“I was ecstatic,” she said. “I thanked God first and foremost, and then I emailed Dr. Russell. I know I should have called my parents first, but she helped me so much through the essay writing, the application process, just everything. I am entirely grateful for having her in my life. I called my parents, who were equally thrilled. I posted on Facebook to let friends know, and then I began the acceptance process.”
Without the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, Newson said that study abroad would not have been an option for her. Now, she will spend 34 days studying and interning with the Red Cross of Spain, while earning academic credit in Spanish conversation and the history of Spain.
“Very few students win this scholarship to study in Western Europe, so this is quite an achievement for Clandra,” noted Russell, who began working with Newson on the application process in October of 2011.
The Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants to United States citizens of limited financial means interested in pursuing academic studies abroad at the undergraduate level.
The program is funded through the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000 and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Newson expects to graduate from VSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish in the fall of 2013. She hopes to then enter VSU’s College of Nursing and pursue an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.