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Eckerd College produces record six Gilman International Scholars

Joy Ebert will travel to Argentina in Fall 2021. Other Eckerd students have visited the country over the years such as this group that spent their Winter Term there in 2010. Photo: Jamie Preira ’11

The application for the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship seemed so daunting that Carly Naundorff abandoned it when she was still a sophomore.

“I decided to apply for the Gilman Scholarship in the fall of 2020 after realizing that ever since high school I’ve always wished to be able to study abroad, yet had never had the money,” said Carly, a senior biology and environmental studies student from Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania. “I thought that this was my last chance before graduating from college.”

It turns out she made the right decision.

Carly is one of six Eckerd College students awarded the 2021 Gilman International Scholarship, which provides study abroad financial support for students with need. Only 17 Tritons have received the prestigious award since its inception in 2001.

“This is the most we have had in a group,” said Kat Robinson, Ph.D., Eckerd’s fellowship and scholarship advisor. “It’s great, as the funding is only available to students who receive the Pell Grant. It is really needed funding for many.”

Carly plans to jet off to the University of Bern in Bern, Switzerland, in the fall to kick off her senior year with intensive study of the German language, while also doing some hiking, meeting people and eating chocolate.

Three of this year’s six Gilman Scholars: Abby Baumgard (in black), Carly Naundorff (in blue) and Cameron Dasher (in green)

Other Eckerd 2021 Gilman Scholars include: Paula Areces-Criado, a junior marine science student from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, who will travel to Australia in Spring 2022; Abigail “Abby” Baumgard, a sophomore marine science student from Morgantown, Pennsylvania, who will travel to Australia in Spring 2022; Cameron Dasher, a junior biology, anthropology and environmental studies student from Akron, Ohio, who will travel to Colombia in Fall 2021; Joy Ebert, a junior psychology student from Falmouth, Kentucky, who will travel to Argentina in Fall 2021; and Isabella Faiello, a first-year international business student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who will travel to Italy in Fall 2021.

Cameron came to Eckerd College because of an interest in ethnobotany and applied for the Gilman Scholarship as a way to afford the research abroad opportunities his vocation requires. “I hope to connect with the local [Colombian] community, joining their discussions as a participator rather than an observer. And whenever time permits, I hope to study the local farming, architecture, archaeology, and natural environments,” Cameron explained.

This year, more than 1,500 undergraduate students became Gilman Scholars when the awards were announced May 18. They represent 467 U.S. colleges and all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These Gilman Scholars will study or intern in 96 countries through the end of 2022.

Abby counts herself glad to be in the number for 2021. “Winning this support to study abroad means a lot to me because it made doing a semester abroad accessible to me,” she said. “Without this support I would most likely not be able to go.”