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BMCC Receives Highest Number of Summer Gilman Scholarships Nationwide

BMCC Academic Study Abroad Program Manager Deborah Stengle and three of the nine BMCC Gilman winners
BMCC Academic Study Abroad Program Manager Deborah Stengle and three of the nine BMCC Gilman winners
May 27, 2015

Nine Borough of Manhattan Community College students—the largest number from any CUNY school—were selected to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad during the Summer 2015 term. BMCC also had more Gilman award winners for the summer than any other community college in the nation.

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 towards their participation in Study Abroad. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply for the funds.

BMCC has five study abroad programs including: Hispanic Heritage; Field Experience in Italy; Latin American Heritage; Chinese Civilization and Language; French Heritage and Social Entrepreneurship in India.

Including the Gilman Award winners, BMCC has a total of 62 students who will study abroad this summer.

“Traditionally, you don’t think of community colleges when you think of study abroad programs,” said Deborah Stengle, manager of the Academic Study Abroad Programs at BMCC.

Students hope to gain new insight

Business major Rebekah Christie said her ASAP advisor Jennifer Hernandez encouraged her to apply for the scholarship. 

“I feel that I've been mentally and spiritually preparing for this trip all year. I hope to apply all the lessons from 2014 and 2015,” said Christie, who will be studying in India in June. 

Early Childhood Education major Maria Bonilla, who is heading for Spain in July, said she applied to the scholarship because it was the only way she could afford to travel overseas.

“By studying abroad I will gain the opportunity to explore and learn about a new culture, gain new ideas, the possibility to grow and to have access to international opportunities,” said Bonilla.

Social Entrepreneurs in India 

Business Administration major Gabriel San Emerterio said he had always wanted to participate in a study abroad program despite the fact that the classes are typically focused on language or culture.

“The class in India, Social Entrepreneurship in India, actually focuses in on local social ventures,” said San Emerterio.

He said he hopes the trip helps him bring a new perspective to his life here in the U.S.

“I hope to experience India for its magic and economic disparity," said San Emerterio. "My understanding is that in the class we will learn about specific social welfare problems, as well as the creative solutions devised and implemented to solve them." 

BMCC Gilman winners and the country they will visit include:


  • Liberal Arts major Ramsi Harrison is visiting India;
  • Business Administration major Gabriel San Emeterio is visiting India
  • Liberal Arts major Cynthia Morales is visiting India
  • Liberal Arts major Rebekah Christie is visiting India
  • Liberal Arts major Maria Bonilla is visiting Spain
  • Liberal Arts major Sandeela Coonjbeharry is visiting China
  • Math major Pawel Rosanki is visiting China
  • Writing and Literature major Sara-Meagan Phillips is visiting China
  • Liberal Arts major Barbara Gise is visiting  Ecuador

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  • Among nation's community colleges, BMCC has largest number of awardees
  • Each winner receives up to $5K for study abroad program
  • BMCC has more Gilman award winners than any other CUNY school

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