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Nursing Student Wins Prestigious Gilman
December 12 , 2006

A Calvin nursing student has won a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Jessica Miller, a 20-year-old sophomore from Colorado Springs, will use the $4,000 Gilman (one of only 400 given to almost 1,200 applicants) to participate in Calvin's development studies semester in Honduras.

"I'm very honored and very excited to have received the scholarship," says Miller, "and I'm really excited to be going to study in Honduras. I want to do missionary nursing, and I want to do third world development, so I think this is an opportunity to learn what the problems are in a third world country."

The Gilman, awarded by the U.S Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE) is a tough scholarship to win, says Ellen Monsma, Calvin's director of off-campus programs.

Yet Calvin, which this year was ranked fourth in the country among baccalaureate institutions by the IIE for the number of students studying abroad, offers a distinctive advantage for Gilman hopefuls.

"We have programs in non-European destinations," Monsma says. "We offer programs that are in places that are unusual for off-campus study. And that contributes to the success of our students getting Gilmans."

Miller, who runs track and cross country at Calvin, gained her yen for unusual destinations in the three years she spent with her family as missionaries in Latvia just after the fall of the Soviet Union.

"That's what made me want to be a missionary-seeing the needs in another culture and wanting to be a part of solving them," she says.

Miller will spend her spring semester in Honduras following a January interim during which she will be managing and facilitating high ropes courses.

"I'm a white water rafting guide back home in the summer, and we want to branch out into climbing," she explains.

~written by communications and marketing staff writer Myrna Anderson