Tuesday, April 26, 2011


As the summer approaches, the anticipation continues to build for me. It’s hard to focus on classes when there are less than three weeks of school left, the weather is getting nice, and having an awesome study abroad experience lined up in the near future.

That experience just got a little sweeter on Sunday, when I found out I was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for Study Abroad. This means my trip will be fully funded, a true blessing because I will not be able to earn money this summer because I will be either in Madrid or Mammoth Lakes, CA the entire time. I live a blessed life, God is so good!

The reason I’m actually writing right now is because of the Gilman Scholarship. When I was applying, I had to write an essay on, “how I would promote study abroad and international education at Drake University.” One of the ways I thought I could stand out was if I had “an official” blog on Drake’s website that both current and prospective students could access. My study abroad counselor Annique, put me in contact with Tim Schmidt, the head of Drake’s website. We met, and he thought it would be a great idea, so here I am today blogging for Drake.

Receiving the scholarship is just another way I feel blessed by being able to attend Drake. Although it was I who ultimately wrote the essays, I received tons of help along the way.

Annique assisted me throughout the entire process, and even volunteered to review my papers. Her insight was valuable because she has served on committees that review applications for study abroad scholarships, so she knew exactly what the Gilman foundation would be looking for.

Dr. Mark Vitha, my academic advisor and one of my chemistry also offered useful advice. In my statement of purpose paper, he encouraged me to pursue another direction because he thought I might have offended some who were reviewing my paper which would not be good (I basically had a premise that art classes mainly require creative skills while the sciences invoke logical and analytical reasoning, but he pointed out that both disciplines require equal amounts). His advice paid off!

Tim was great about communicating with me about getting a blog on Drake’s website. We had to check with the NCAA to see if it complied with their guidelines, and he took the initiative to make sure everything checked out.

My mom helped me out by making sure I received all the necessary documents that needed to be submitted.

Last but not least, my dad reviewed and edited my papers countless times and offered constructive feedback.

I am so grateful for all of the people listed above. I couldn’t have won this scholarship without their help. It’s people like Annique, Dr. Vitha, and Tim that gives Drake a distinct advantage over other colleges and universities.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Michael! It's well deserved. Look forward to reading more from you while you are in Spain. — T