Skip to main content

Scholarships Save

Senior Biology student Ellecyn Brimley traveled to Vietnam on a study abroad thanks to the many scholarships provided by the BYU Kennedy Center, including the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship. She shares how she got the scholarship, and how other students can too.

In thick green forest, Ellecyn stands on a leafy log looking upward, holding a large bug net
Photo by Ellecyn Brimley
Several students eat traditional Pho noodles at a table. Photo by Ellecyn Brimley.

International travel as a college student can be extremely expensive, so many people never get the chance to go. I wanted so badly to go on the Vietnam study abroad this past Spring but was unsure if I would have enough money to spare. I already had to pay for rent, food, tuition, insurance, and so much more all while attending school full-time. There are so many life-changing benefits to international travel, but without the funds, I was at an impasse.

Hundreds of months, big and small, cling to a propped-up white sheet. There are lights hung above the canvas.
Photo by Ellecyn Brimley

The Vietnam trip was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be like a character in one of those jungle heist movies with the Rock. We were going to catch insects in the deepest parts of the Vietnamese jungle in full adventuring gear for five weeks, all while experiencing the rich culture and delicious food that the Southeast-Asian country has to offer. And with all the data we would find there, each student would be able to publish a scientific paper to further our careers. I wanted so badly to be there, so I decided to apply for scholarships as if it was my job.
The Kennedy Center (in the HRCB) is the place to go when looking for scholarships. I was given a large book of all the possible scholarships they offer, including the requirements for applying for each scholarship. In the book, I found the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship. It is specifically given out to American students going on international study abroads and internships. I went through the application process, which includes quite a bit of information to fill out as well as three essays, and then hoped for the best. When the email came that said I was accepted, I fell to my knees in prayer and thanked God for blessing me.

The Gilman scholarship is meant to give undergraduate Americans of limited financial means a chance to do things they would not otherwise be able to do. In the past twenty-one years, there have been a total of 34,000 recipients, all receiving between $100 and $5,000. The application process can be arduous and tedious, but it is worth the amazing international experiences and memories. Anyone has an opportunity to reach for the stars, because scholarships like Gilman will build you the rocket to get there.

Ellecyn's study abroad group stands in front of a large historical gate
Photo by Ellecyn Brimley