The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and offers grants for undergraduate students who wish to pursue academic studies abroad and might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints.
“The scholarship is geared toward students less privileged, students with disabilities, those with diverse backgrounds, and students headed to nontraditional study abroad areas,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, executive director of the UT Center for International Studies and Programs.
El Tatawy, a junior majoring in biology in the pre-med program, will study biology and chemistry at the University of Salford, which is near Manchester in the United Kingdom, as part of the UT-Salford Exchange Program. He will be there from September to July.
“I’ll mainly take classes, but I will get the chance to do a weeklong hands-on research study on the tides and ecosystems in England,” El Tatawy said.
Part of the agreement for the scholarship is a cultural project that the student does at home.
“The project is open so we can do anything we’d like,” El Tatawy said. “I’m going to do a video log every week when I’m in England.”
The log will be posted on YouTube for other students to see, and at the end of his experience, El Tatawy will edit the logs together to create a video about the Gilman Scholarship and the Salford program to be used in classrooms and orientations.
Spann said the Center for International Studies and Programs hopes to increase the number of awards and provide more students the opportunity to travel. The center also is partnering with the Division of External Affairs to increase international student enrollment at the University.
“It is important for our students to seek opportunities to experience different cultures and learn about different populations in order to broaden their understanding of our world,” Spann said. “The center aims to do that by encouraging more local students to study abroad and to recruit international students to experience life here in Toledo. We all have a lot to learn from each other.”
Since its inception in 2011, more than 9,700 students have received the Gilman scholarship to study in 125 countries.