Shalee Britton of Los Alamos
CANYON, Texas—It’s been Shalee Britton’s lifelong dream to study the fauna and flora of tropical regions, and that dream will come true for the West Texas A&M University student when she travels to Brazil in the fall as the recipient of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
Britton, a junior wildlife biology major and Attebury Honors student from Los Alamos is one of 860 American undergraduate students from 332 colleges and universities across the United States selected to receive the award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study or intern abroad. Britton’s internship will run August through November in Manaus, Brazil, where she will study “Brazilian Ecosystems: The Protection and Management of Biodiversity.”
She also plans to study the Portuguese language. The internship will earn Britton 14 credit hours, and she hopes to graduate from WTAMU in December 2016.
“I am very interested to spend time in a village in the Amazon and learn their skills in tracking animals from the faintest signs and learn how they see the world,” Britton said. “Both would benefit me as a biologist as I study the Amazonian wildlife and vegetation. As I have never been outside of the states, it is exciting to me to see what a city, town and village look like in a different part of the world and experience a very different culture.”
Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go. It is designed for undergraduate students receiving Federal Pell Grant funds to help broaden their education through study abroad experiences. The recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies—making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.
One requirement of a Gilman Scholarship is a follow-on service project after returning to the states. Britton plans to share with others how the Gilman Scholarship has given her the opportunity to meet a lifelong desire to see the Amazon and conduct research there. She will share her story, photos and a power point presentation with the WTAMU branch of the Wildlife Society and the University’s Attebury Honors Program as well as STEM students and her fellow biology students.
“I know some students who don’t think they could ever experience another country because of finances, and some who don’t try very hard in school,” she said. “Perhaps a presentation describing how such opportunities are within reach will have a positive effect.”
The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The complete list of Gilman Scholarship recipients can be found at iie.org/gilman. For more information about the Gilman Scholarship or other competitive scholarships, contact Laura Seals at firstname.lastname@example.org or 806.651.2587 or visit the Office of Competitive Scholarships in WTAMU’s Student Success Center.