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Five UW-Eau Claire Gilman Scholars to Head Overseas this Fall

RELEASED: July 8, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — Five University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students, more than ever at one time before, have received scholarships to study abroad beginning in the 2009 fall semester through the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

Kristin Bomber, Eau Claire, and Justin Janicki, Wisconsin Rapids, both were awarded $5,000 scholarships to study abroad for one year. Bomber will study in Växjö, Sweden, and Janicki will study in Nagasaki, Japan.

Vedran Uzeirovic, Amery, and Luke Jacob, Waterford, will study in Thessaloniki, Greece, for one semester. Uzeirovic was awarded a $3,500 scholarship and Jacob received a $3,000 award. Casey Carroll, Eau Claire, received a $2,500 scholarship and also will study for one semester in Hirakata City, Japan.

A graduate of Immanuel Lutheran High School, Bomber will attend Växjö University. She will pursue a bachelor's degree in management to complement the bachelor's degree in information systems she is studying for at UW-Eau Claire. She plans to become involved in university activities such as orchestra, choir and sports.

"I also want to take the opportunity to travel Sweden and the surrounding area during school breaks," Bomber said. "I am very thankful to have received the award. It is a huge step toward paying the required tuition. The essays required for the award go up against some very tough competition from all over the United States, and I am very grateful to everyone who helped me review them."

Janicki, who describes himself as very happy and surprised to have received the Gilman Scholarship, will attend the Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies. He plans to take classes that will aid in his acquisition of the Japanese language as he eventually hopes to teach in Japan. To gain experience, he will seek out tutoring and teaching assistant positions and travel the country as much as possible to learn more about Japanese culture.

"I did not think I would be selected as a recipient and was reluctant to even try," said Janicki. "Many scholarship applications can be initially intimidating. If it had not been for Colleen Marchwick's encouragement, I never would have applied. (Marchwick is a study abroad coordinator in UW-Eau Claire's Center for International Education.) The fact that I am receiving the award only proves that you can't let yourself be overwhelmed by negative thoughts about the number of applicants or the low probability of receiving the award," Janicki said. "I think everyone should take advantage of whatever financial support is available to them."

Uzerovic and Jacob will study at the American College of Thessaloniki. Uzerovic is a marketing major with an international business minor, so he expects to take mostly business classes while in Greece. Jacob was just accepted into the College of Business to study business finance, so he expects to take a variety of general courses while in Thessaloniki. He said he was very grateful for the award and very excited to be heading to Greece this fall.

Carroll, who is an art major with a minor in Japanese, will study at Kansai Gaidai University. A graduate of Eau Claire's Memorial High School, Carroll said he has never traveled outside the United States before and is eager to see some of the rest of the world.

"My interest in Japan goes back to at least high school," Carroll said."I was first drawn to the island nation by its unique art, both popular and ancient. But art reveals culture, and slowly my interest grew beyond the antique ink brush work and ultra-modern comics, animation and illustration to the world behind them, a world both familiar and strange. This semester I've finished my minor in Japanese. And the insight it's given me, both historical and philosophical, have only deepened my interest in Japan."

Carroll said he sees his upcoming semester abroad as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"It's an incredible thing to see all the pieces come together after a long year of preparation, especially the aid granted by the Gilman," Carroll said.

"During the fall 2009 application cycle, the Gilman program received 1,927 applications for 850 possible awards," said Cheryl Lochner-Wright, a study abroad coordinator in the CIE. "It speaks well of our programs that we continue to have more students successfully applying for this award each year."

The Gilman International Scholarship Program, established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, provides awards that allow American undergraduate students who receive federal Pell Grant funding at a two- or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Institute of International Education through its Southern Regional Center in Houston.



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