Gilman Scholarships Send Students to Switzerland, Estonia

Two Nebraska Wesleyan University students are traveling abroad for the first time this semester thanks to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Brenda Maldonado, a junior global studies and French major from Sargent, and Molly Cox, a senior anthropology/sociology major from Council Bluffs, Iowa, have each received a Gilman Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. NWU students have won 35 Gilman Scholarships since the award was created in 2001.

Maldonado was raised in a bilingual household and has always been fascinated by different cultures and languages. That interest combined with rewarding friendships with high school foreign exchange students, led her to pursue a study abroad opportunity.

"Studying abroad was the primary reason I picked Nebraska Wesleyan," said Maldonado.

She picked Switzerland for is cultural richness: four official languages, home to numerous INGOs, and strong political and economic influence.

She plans to eventually pursue a career in human rights.

"So what better way to find exposure to this field than by studying in the country that is home to the United Nations Rights Council," she said. "This experience will equip me with the necessary skills to later serve in a third world, French-speaking country through the Peace Corps."

Cox will board a plane for the second time in her life when she flies to Estonia to attend the University of Tartu — a sister school to NWU.

"I've been interested in traveling the world for as long as I can remember," said Cox. "I love reading novels set in other countries and lands. As I grew up, I found that studying abroad may be a way for me to travel the world while in school. In fact, studying abroad is actually what drew me to Wesleyan."

As an anthropology/sociology major, Cox is excited how this opportunity will provide her with independence and confidence as she soon enters the workforce. 

"The great thing about being an anthropology/sociology major is that my career path is very open," she said. "As I move forward from my study abroad experience as well as my time at Nebraska Wesleyan, I hope this opportunity will provide me the necessary skill set to be successful.

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Brenda Maldonado is studying at Universite' de Lausanne in Switzerland.
The Gilman Scholarship is sending Molly Cox to Estonia.