Sac State Student Receives Gilman Scholarship to Study Abroad

Oscar Ponce Gilman Scholarship Winner

Oscar Ponce has been studying Health Science at Sac State since the Fall of 2022. When he received an email from Gabriel Hernandez, the Senior Program Coordinator of the Faculty-Led Study Abroad (FLSA) program encouraging him to apply for the Gilman Scholarship, he did. Since receiving the scholarship, Oscar was able to attend the Faculty-Led Student Abroad programs in Costa Rica and Mexico.  

“I chose to apply for the Gilman Scholarship as soon as I was absolutely sure that I was going to study abroad,” says Oscar. “This was an opportunity to serve my country and represent the American image as an ambassador and develop lasting relationships with foreign nationals.” 

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The U.S. Department of State’s goal for the Gilman Program is to broaden the student population that studies and interns abroad by supporting American undergraduate students who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints. The international experiences gained through participation in the program enable tomorrow’s leaders to thrive in the global economy and contribute to our nation’s prosperity. The program supports talented American undergraduates of limited financial means to pursue valuable experiences abroad, during which they gain skills that promote individual growth and support American economic competitiveness and national security. 

“As soon as I read Oscar’s Gilman Scholarship application essays, I knew he was an excellent candidate for this prestigious award,” says Dr. Mya Dosch, Associate Professor of Art of the Americas and co-leader of the Mexico City Study Abroad trip with Dr. Rachel Miller. “Oscar wrote compellingly about how his military service had led him back to school to become a mental health practitioner, with the goal of providing culturally competent care for veterans with PTSD. He talked about how his experiences in Mexico and Costa Rica this summer would help him to maintain an open mind in this future career.  After reading Oscar’s essay — and then both teaching him and learning from him in Mexico City — I feel like we are lucky to have him as part of the Sacramento State community. He was even able to meet with members of the U.S. Secretary of State’s office while we were in Mexico!” 

Faculty-Led Study Abroad (FLSA) programs are short-term, international experiences designed for students who would like to study abroad — and stay on track for graduation — but cannot spend an entire semester or academic year abroad. These programs allow students to infuse international, intercultural, and global dimensions into their academic experience. Programs vary in length, and classes are taught by Sacramento State faculty. Contact us to learn more about applying to study abroad programs. 

“To receive the Gilman Scholarship is an honor,” Oscar says. “Being selected as one of the few has been one of the biggest accomplishments of my life and I am proud to be a Gilman Scholarship Alumni.” 

Since affordability is one of the main reasons for not studying abroad, Sac State’s College of Continuing Education (CCE) encourages students to take advantage of scholarship opportunities, as they are a great way to offset some of the costs associated with studying abroad such as program and visa fees, and travel, in-country, and personal expenses. The Scholarships Office awards nearly $4 million dollars in institutional scholarships each year. Interested students can visit their website to learn about a variety of institutional and community scholarships offered at Sac State.