Two Nebraska Wesleyan University students are studying in Rwanda this summer thanks to a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
Kerry Worley, a junior social work major from Omaha, and Rachel Konvalin, a first-year global studies and modern language studies major from Boise, Idaho, have each been awarded the prestigious scholarship.
The Gilman Scholarship is a nationally competitive program that assists students with study abroad expenses. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go. The scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Both students will spend a month participating in the course, “Rwanda: Genocide and Beyond,” led by Gerise Herndon, professor of English. While in Rwanda, they will visit genocide memorials, reconciliation communities and women’s cooperatives. They will also have the opportunity to visit local villages and organizations to observe coexistence of survivors and perpetrators.
“I hope to gain a more inclusive perspective of different cultures and practices worldwide,” said Worley. “The world is so much bigger than the U.S., and it is important to look on a transnational level.”
While in Rwanda, Worley will also participate in a collaborative research project with Herndon. They will study how women in Rwanda view feminism.
Konvalin became interested in Rwanda through her Archway Seminar, a course for first-year students. The class, titled “Mission Impossible: International Relations without Paternalism,” focused on the 1994 genocide.
“I hope to gain more in-depth knowledge about the genocide and how Rwandans as a whole and individual communities have come back from such a dark history,” said Konvalin. “I want to learn how Rwanda is growing now and what efforts are still being made to heal.”
Konvalin will spend part of her experience interning with a non-profit organization.
Worley and Konvalin become NWU’s 50th and 51st recipients of the Gilman Scholarship since the program began in 2001.