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VSU Student Awarded International Scholarship for Study Abroad

Published date: January 3, 2013

Akira Crawford

VSU Student Awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for Study Abroad

Akira Crawford, a junior psychology major at Virginia State University, has been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to participate in a study abroad program during the spring 2013 academic term.  Crawford, of Newark, NJ, is one of over 1,000 outstanding American undergraduate students to earn a Gilman Scholarship.

Crawford will travel to Cape Town, South Africa, to participate in a research-based, service-learning program to explore socioeconomic issues that impact South African communities and demographic groups.  In addition to studying research methods used by social scientists, including data collection and analysis, she will learn the isiXhosa language to enhance engagement with the local community.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad program costs. A limited number of Critical Need Language Scholarships are given each year for a total award of $8,000. Scholarship recipients gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies. This immersion better prepares recipients to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector. 

The Gilman Scholarship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in Houston, TX. The program brings diversity to study abroad participants and the countries and regions in which they study.  In the program’s 12 years, more than 13,000 students nationwide have received this prestigious award.

Benjamin A. Gilman retired in 2002 after serving 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, during which time he chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee. 

Crawford is Vice President of the VSU NAACP Youth and College Division, member of the PSI CHI and Golden Key National Honor Societies, board member with VSU Counseling Services, member of Active Minds/VSU Chapter and a VSU Provost Scholar.  She plans to become a correctional psychologist at an adult correctional center or juvenile detention center and one day start a non-profit organization that provides low-income students with leadership opportunities through volunteerism and community activism. 

For questions about the Gilman Scholarship application process, contact Dr. Maxine Sample, Director of International Education and the Gilman Scholarship Program Campus Advisor, at  or 804-524-5986. 

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