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Six UW-Eau Claire students receive Gilman scholarships to study abroad

December 26, 2012

EAU CLAIRE — Six University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students have been awarded scholarships through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program to study abroad during the spring 2013 semester.

Michael Fiori
Natasha Fuller
Emma Heaton
Sara Schultz
Michael Gehrke
Alicia Hooker

Michael Fiori, Green Bay, was awarded $4,500 to study in Spain; junior Natasha Fuller, Ogilvie, Minn., was awarded $4,500 to study in Austria; junior Emma Heaton, Maple Grove, Minn., received $3,000 to study in the United Kingdom; Sara Schultz, Muskego, was awarded $4,500 to study in Botswana; and Michael Gehrke, Eau Claire, and Alicia Hooker, Mukwonago, received scholarships to study in Japan. Gehrke was awarded $4,000 and Hooker was awarded $5,000.

Fiori, a mathematics education major and Spanish minor, will study in Valladolid, Spain. He chose to study there for the living arrangements, his interest in the Spanish culture and the extra activities in the country's former capital.

"I hope to improve my Spanish skills, as Spanish will be really useful for (me as) a teacher, and to try to find out who I really am outside of my home culture's influence," Fiori said.

Fuller, a German major working on a bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration, will study at the Karl-Franzens Universitaet in Graz, Austria. She plans to travel and visit as many art museums as possible. She also hopes to do an internship.

"I hope to improve my German language skills immensely (as well as) understand, appreciate and become part of Austrian culture," Fuller said. "I also hope to make lifelong friends and learn more about who I am and where I fit in the world."

Heaton, a sociology major, chose to study in the United Kingdom so she could experience a culture different from the United States, but also similar. She will attend Harlaxton College in England, where she will live and study in an English manor built in the 19th century. She plans to apply for a resident assistant position and possibly participate in the Student Council.

"I hope to learn a lot about European culture and gain important experience in both my field and personally," Heaton said.

Schultz, a sophomore public history major and global studies minor, will study at the University of Botswana because she wanted a new and unpredictable experience.

"I am most looking forward to learning the language and experiencing the culture in villages surrounding Gaborone, the city where I will be studying," Schultz said. "I am also excited to do some hiking and visit Victoria Falls."

Gehrke, a sophomore art major specializing in illustration, will study in Nagasaki, Japan. He plans to work on his language skills and take as many photographs as possible.

"I'm excited to meet my host family and to see the ocean for the first time," he said. "I hope to learn more about the (Japanese) people and their culture."

Hooker, a junior computer science major with a minor in Japanese, will study in Hirakata City, Japan. She looks forward to involvement with campus organizations, travel and cultural experiences.

"(I'd like to) improve my Japanese language skills, meet people from around the world and learn all about Japanese culture," she said.

For more information, contact Colleen Marchwick, study abroad coordinator in UW-Eau Claire's Center for International Education, at



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