EKU Student One of 108 Gilman International Scholars Nationwide

Caldwell photo

"Excited," said Tori Caldwell, is an inadequate word to convey her reaction to winning one of only 108 Gilman International Scholarships awarded nationally to study abroad.


"This is definitely a life-changing experience," said Caldwell, a junior public health major and McNair Scholar at Eastern Kentucky University, who will use the scholarship to travel to the east Africa country of Tanzania this summer.


Caldwell, of Louisville, said Africa "has always been a place of interest for me because of its rich history and diverse population. So, when this opportunity presented itself in Tanzania, the program included everything, if not more, (related to) my interest in public health." While there from June 8 to July 12,


Caldwell will study maternal and child health. "I will also be studying the frameworks of global health and developing countries," she noted, "so this will definitely be an eye-opening experience for me."

Caldwell, one of only four students from Kentucky institutions to receive the honor, said she was "surprised" to win what she called "a very competitive, prestigious scholarship, nationally. I prayed over this and went out on faith. It still hasn't really resonated with me how big of an accomplishment being a Gilman recipient is."


The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which bears the name of a former Congressman and chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their program costs.


"Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates," Gilman said. "Living and learning in a vastly different environment … not only exposes students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world."


Caldwell got a taste of that last summer when she studied abroad with the Department of Psychology in Segovia, Spain. "Needless to say, I got bit by the travel bug."


The 2012 Louisville Male Traditional High School graduate is actively involved in campus activities at EKU. She is vice president of the African/African-American Studies Club, serves as a Freshman Academy for Diverse Students mentor and on the Student Success Advisory Board. She was previously a Student Alumni Ambassador and served with Best Buddies. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master's degree and become an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner with a focus in public health relations.


Caldwell said EKU 'has opened up a number of doors for me. From consultants at Noel Studio, to professors and classmates, there was always someone along the way. Dr. Salome Nnoromele has had the biggest impact on me as a student here at EKU. Her visions for her students and EKU are infinite. Dr. Nnoromele has always had an open door for me and encouraged me to see the world beyond what I know of it."


Nnoromele, interim associate vice president of student life and director of EKU's African/African-American Studies Program, said Caldwell "is a pleasant individual, well-rounded, level-headed and passionate about health issues, especially with regards to under-represented populations. I am thrilled she will have the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to learn about the culture and to deepen her research on mothers with AIDS and the effects on their children and families. Her research will bring a much needed interdisciplinary perspective on the subject that intersects social, economic and health issues. I am proud of her academic achievements, and pleased that her hard work and efforts have been rewarded with such a prestigious award."


The Office of National and International Scholarships and Fellowships at EKU assists students with the deliberation and application process. The Office offers individual advising assistance to all EKU students in: determining appropriate fellowships or scholarships to pursue, coordinating application materials, selecting recommenders, preparing compelling personal statements, developing project proposals or proposed programs of study, and interviewing. The coordinator is Dr. Minh Nguyen at minh.nguyen@eku.edu.

Published on February 17, 2015

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