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Two Eastern Kentucky University students were awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a highly competitive study-abroad grant that receives thousands of applicants each year. 

Emily Burcham, an EKU Honors Program junior studying art education, and Michael McIntyre, a senior psychology major, were named recipients last fall, bringing EKU’s total number of students receiving scholarships to 12 over the past six years. 

Burcham, who hails from Hamilton, Ohio, plans to use her scholarship for a summer 2022 program that combines time in Berlin, Germany, and Barcelona, Spain, with an emphasis on art and culture. 

“Many students have put their dreams of international travel on the back burner because of the pandemic,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “These scholarships reward these academically talented students and I trust they will represent Eastern and our country well while abroad.” 

“I chose Berlin and Barcelona for practical reasons,” Burcham said. “Since this program will give me credit toward my major. Both cities obviously have rich and deep histories in the arts, and I am so excited to be able to explore and learn where it all happened. This opportunity means being able to do things that I thought were impossible for me.” 

McIntyre, who comes to EKU from Sebastian, Fla., will use his funds for a year-long exchange to Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Japan. It is his lifelong dream to study in Japan. 

“I picked this program for a multitude of reasons,” he said. “One of them being my love for Japanese culture. I’ve always enjoyed things that are unique to Japan such as Sumo, Kabuki or Shintoism. Being able to travel abroad in a country that is very different from the United States will provide me much more knowledge of other cultures, which can be very beneficial for psychology.” 

The Gilman Scholarship program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers grants up to $5,000 to undergraduates for academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. Such international exchange is intended to prepare U.S.students to assume roles in an increasingly global economy.