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Congratulations to Drexel's 2020 Gilman Scholarship Honorees!

July 31, 2020

We are pleased to announce that eight Drexel students have received Gilman Scholarships to support future study or co-op abroad and two have been named alternates. The prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, supports American undergraduate students pursuing study abroad and international internships. Congratulations to all of Drexel's honorees!

Abbey Ferenz (BSBA Marketing, Management Information Systems, and Technology Innovation Management '23)
Gilman Scholar to the United Kingdom
Abbey is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science and Business Administration degree in Marketing, Management Information Systems, and Technology Innovation Management.  While her original plans to study abroad Fall 2020 in Scotland were cancelled due to COVID-19, she will hopefully be utilizing the Gilman Scholarship to study on Semester at Sea’s Fall 2021 Voyage in which she will visit ten different countries. As a Gilman Scholar she is looking forward to expanding her cultural understanding and utilizing this experience to grow as a leader and globally minded citizen.

Rida Memon (BA Global Studies '24, Honors)
Gilman Scholarship Alternate to Spain
Rida is a second-year honors student and a Global Engagement Scholar at Drexel University pursuing a degree in Global Studies with a concentration in Human Rights and Justice and a minor in Spanish. Upon completing her bachelor’s degree, she hopes to go to law school. Her most recent interest is to use her law degree as a foundation to work for the government in International Relations. In the Fall of 2021, she plans on studying abroad at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Spain with the hope that this experience helps her evolve her Spanish, develop her own sense of independence, and exposes her to the unique perspective of how the Spanish community views global politics and the issues of the world today. Overall, she considers herself to be an outgoing young woman, a mindful communicator, and a highly motivated individual who is dedicated to finding her passion.

Samantha Heliodoro (BS Psychology '22, Honors)
Gilman Scholarship Alternate to France
Samantha is a second year psychology major at Drexel with a minor in sociology. By studying abroad, she would like to widen her understanding of how other cultures and social systems can impact adolescents’ well-being and mental health. Samantha would like to pursue a career in psychological research, focusing on social and economic issues and their effect on underserved communities. At Drexel, she is a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity, Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, and is a research assistant for two Drexel psychology labs. She is also a Drexel Community Scholar, working at both SquashSmarts and Beat the Streets Philadelphia, where she plans on using her study abroad and Gilman experience to teach high school students about the importance of learning about other cultures while in college.

Steven Huang (BSBA Management Information Systems '23)
Gilman Scholar to China
Steven is a second year LeBow business student currently pursuing his career in management information systems. He was born in New York and raised in New Jersey, finally settling down in the heart of Philadelphia. Steven lives with the dual identity of being both Chinese and American. From a young age, society had taught him to despise the Chinese identity, but he is now ready to praise it and bring a mutual connection between the two cultures. Steven will be studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China for the fall semester of 2021.

Tamia Santiago (BA Communication '22)
Gilman Scholar to Jordan and Ireland
Tamia Santiago is a rising senior at Drexel University pursuing a degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. As a Philadelphia native, Tamia dreamed of going to Drexel University since the age of nine not for herself, but rather her community. Tamia always understood that her fortunate position was all a matter of circumstance and aims to uplift the unheard voices through her talent in writing. With the help of the Gilman Scholarship, Tamia planned to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland and Amman, Jordan. The program focused on peace and conflict relations in two separate regions of the world. Tamia planned to immerse herself within these two worlds to write a story where we could see them as one.

Vlada Kupriienko (BS Biological Sciences '21)
Gilman Scholar to Costa Rica
Vlada is a fourth-year student at Drexel University pursuing a degree in biological sciences. With the help of the Gilman Scholarship, Vlada will be studying at Universidad Latina de Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she will get an opportunity to gain insight into Costa Rican rich history and culture. Also, as a pre-med student, she is excited to experience a different healthcare system and to enhance her Spanish proficiency. This experience will strengthen Vlada’s preparation for a career in medicine and will prepare her to work better with the Hispanic community which compromises the largest minority in the United States.

*This list does not include the students who did not respond to give permission for an online profile.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides U.S. undergraduate students with financial support to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing internships abroad. The program supports many students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad, including but not limited to first-generation college students, students in STEM fields, ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, and students coming from U.S. states with less study abroad participation.

Learn more about the Gilman Scholarship and how to apply at Drexel.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards 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. Since 2001, it has enabled more than 28,000 outstanding Americans of diverse backgrounds to engage in meaningful educational experiences in 145 countries around the globe.

“The Gilman Program aims to make study abroad, and its career advantages, more accessible and inclusive for American students.  These diverse American students gain critical skills overseas that expand their career options and ability to make an impact in their home communities,” said Heidi Manley, the Chief of USA Study Abroad at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She notes that the program particularly focuses on supporting first-generation college students, students in the STEM fields, ethnic and racial minority students, students with disabilities, students who are veterans, students attending community colleges and minority serving institutions, and other populations underrepresented in study abroad, as well as broadening the destinations where scholars study or intern.

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 (IIE).


The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States. ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.  Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges.  For more information about ECA programs, initiatives, and achievements, visit

The Institute of International Education works with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, and over 1,300 member institutions.