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Two OU Students Receive U.S. Department of State International Scholarships to Study Abroad

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Two OU Students Receive U.S. Department of State International Scholarships to Study Abroad

From left: Chennyri Whitaker of Tulsa, Price College Dean Daniel Pullin and Jesse Chesnut of Choctaw.
From left: Chennyri Whitaker of Tulsa, Price College
Dean Daniel Pullin and Jesse Chesnut of Choctaw.

Two University of Oklahoma students, both from the Michael F. Price College of Business, have been selected to receive the U.S. Department of State’s prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad during the spring of 2019.

Chennyri Whitaker of Tulsa, an international business with Spanish major, will be studying abroad in Puebla, Mexico. Jesse Chesnut of Choctaw, an international business with Russian major, will be studying abroad in Latvia.

In total, 835 undergraduate students from 310 colleges and universities across the United States were selected to receive the scholarship. Whitaker and Chesnut were the only OU students selected to receive Gilman scholarships.

“We are inspired by these young Oklahomans who will represent OU and the Price College of Business on the international stage,” said Daniel Pullin, dean of the Price College of Business. “Pursuing one’s studies in a global context prepares the next generation of leaders to tackle the greatest issues of our time by applying raw talent and honed skills with the power of understanding a diversity of people, ideas and cultures. Collectively, our Gilman Scholars are ready to add value day-one upon graduation to advance the organizations they join or the opportunities they launch in the years ahead.”

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs, with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas. The Gilman Scholarship supports American undergraduate students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad and, since 2001, has enabled more than 25,000 Americans of diverse backgrounds to engage in a meaningful educational experience abroad. The program has successfully broadened U.S. participation in study abroad, while emphasizing countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study.

“I am beyond honored to have received the Gilman International Scholarship,” Whitaker said. “The joy and excitement I felt when I received the acceptance email is unexplainable. Without the award, my study abroad experience may not have even been possible.”

Chesnut shared similar sentiments.

"I am truly fortunate and grateful to be chosen to receive the Gilman Scholarship,” he said. “It is exciting to be granted such an honor and I hope that I can use this scholarship to have a life-changing study abroad experience in Latvia.”

The complete list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships this term, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available online at gilmanscholarship.org.

The late Congressman Gilman, for whom the scholarship is named, served in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee. When honored with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002, he said, “Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also 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.”

The Gilman Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education.

Established in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting university and leader in research, health care, and academic activity impacting the state of Oklahoma and global community. The Norman campus enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City enroll more than 3,000 students and the OU-Tulsa campus enrolls more than 1,000. Of the 4,385 incoming freshmen in 2018, the average ACT score is 26.2 and is one of the most diverse and inclusive groups of incoming students in university history. OU began a new focus in 2018 to double research efforts in the next five years, promote OU Medicine as the health care provider of choice in the State of Oklahoma, and grow the university in northeastern Oklahoma.

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