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Students earn national scholarships for summer study abroad

By Steve Nakata, Administrative Services

Hudson,-left,-and-ScottPULLMAN, Wash. – Two Washington State University students have been selected from more than 3,400 applicants representing 332 colleges and universities across the U.S. to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Senior William Scott (Clayton, Wash.) and junior Keena Hudson (Ferndale, Wash.) will each receive up to $5,000 to study in Costa Rica July 3-Aug. 8, earning eight academic credits toward their degrees.

The two applied for the scholarship through an inaugural program at WSU called First Generation Abroad.

“First-generation students are largely underrepresented in education abroad, but to win this award means that our students are entrusted with the responsibility to immerse themselves in another culture and bring back their experiences to share with others,” said Eva Navarijo, director of WSU’s First Scholars program. “I am overjoyed that our students will have access to such a transformative and significant endeavor.”

Scott participates in WSU’s Passport to College program ( while Hudson is involved in First Scholars (

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, sponsor of the scholarship, the program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions they visit.

Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies – making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

“I have spent my whole life here (in the Northwest) and it’s time to experience something else,” said Scott. “I never really had dreamed of something like living abroad but now it’s an idea I cannot stop thinking of, and perhaps once I graduate I will move back to Costa Rica.”

As a student of apparel design, Hudson said this opportunity will greatly enhance her education.

“I think that this study abroad experience will broaden my perspectives of different cultures and fashion and make me a more well-rounded and open-minded person at school and in the workplace,” she said.

Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, said, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience.

“It provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community,” he said.


Eva Navarijo, WSU First Scholars Program, 509-335-3397,
Steve Nakata, WSU Administrative Services communications, 509-335-1774,



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