Two Roanoke College students receive scholarships to study abroad

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipients, Jessica Fuller (left) and Sumi Yi (right).

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipients, Jessica Fuller (left) and Sumi Yi (right).

Two Roanoke College students, Sumi Yi '16 and Jessica Fuller '16, have been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year.

This competitive scholarship provides grants of up to $5,000 to aid college students who study abroad. It is named for Congressman Benjamin Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years.

Roanoke is one of six schools in Virginia with Gilman scholarship recipients this year. Yi and Fuller are among 450 undergraduate Gilman recipients nationwide.

Yi, of Centreville, Va., will be studying in South Korea this summer and through the fall semester.

After moving from South Korea to the United States as a young child, Yi said she has dreamed of going back to her native country.

"Studying abroad was the perfect reason to return," she said. "Once I declared my majors (political science and international relations), I became very interested in diplomacy, especially between Korea and the United States." 

Yi will receive $3,000 through the Gilman scholarship to travel to South Korea.

During her six-month stay, she will study at Ewha Womans University for a summer program and at Yonsei University during the fall.

"Through these exchange programs, I hope to strengthen my communication skills and become more socially and politically aware of Korea," she said. 

Yi hopes to one day become a representative for diplomatic relations between Korea and the United States.

Fuller, a Spanish and political science major from Charlotte, N.C., will study at the Universidad Del Salvador in Argentina from mid-July through July 2015.

Fuller said she hopes to gain a greater perspective of Spanish culture while in Argentina. She also wants to study in an environment that could prepare her to pursue her dream of becoming a bilingual criminal attorney.

The Gilman Scholarship will give Fuller $5,000 for her travel in Argentina.

Typically, only 25 percent of Gilman applicants receive an award, said Jenny Rosti, a Roanoke faculty member and director of major scholarships and fellowships.

"This year over half of Roanoke's applicants earned this prestigious scholarship," she said.

A total of seven Roanoke students have received Gilman Scholarships, and six of these seven currently are enrolled at the College.

After returning to the United States, Yi and Fuller are required to create a project that demonstrates their learning experiences while abroad.

Yi plans on sharing details about her South Korea experience to Roanoke students in a presentation format, while Fuller intends to teach a class to elementary school students about the importance of studying abroad and learning different languages.

-Published June 18, 2014