Two Missouri Southern students were recently selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Brandon Dockery, a junior international studies and French major from Neosho, will receive a $4,500 scholarship to spend the semester at the University of Caen in the Normandy region of France.

Brandon Dockery

Brandon Dockery

Abriel O’Donnell, a senior pre-professional biology major from Joplin, will receive a $3,500 scholarship to spend the semester in the Missouri London Program.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Gilman program aims to diversify the students who study 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 an international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply.

More than 700 undergraduate students from 341 colleges and universities across the U.S. were selected to receive the scholarship. More than 2,600 applications had been received during the spring 2014 application cycle.

“It’s interesting to note that MSSU has the same number of Gilman scholarship recipients as the University of Missouri-Columbia,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of MSSU’s Institute of International Studies. “And, we have more than the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, which each have one. There aren’t any from Missouri State University or the University of Central Missouri.”

Abriel O'Donnell

Abriel O’Donnell

Stebbins said that Natascha Lord, then a senior German and international business major, received the Gilman scholarship last year.

Besides giving the students a chance to broaden their cultural horizons, the study abroad opportunity will allow them to further their academic pursuits, he said.

“Both of Brandon’s degree programs (international studies and French) require an immersion experience,” said Stebbins. “Spending a semester in  France will satisfy both.”

“Abriel, a pre-professional biology major, is planning to do a professional internship while she’s in London.”