TROY student garners international study scholarship

Posted: Tuesday, 30 June 2009

TROY—Devan Shields, a junior education major of Fairhope, has been awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for $3,500, to become a study abroad student in Japan. She is one of only two college students in Alabama to be chosen for this scholarship.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides scholarships to U.S. undergraduates with financial need for study abroad, including students from diverse backgrounds and students going to non-traditional study abroad destinations. Established under the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, Gilman Scholarships provide up to $5,000 for American students to pursue overseas study for college credit.

Shields, who is married, said the scholarship will provide the opportunity she otherwise would not have had, although her absence for the fall semester will be difficult on the home front.

“It will definitely be a struggle but with the amount of passion I have for the country I am visiting, it will be a wonderful experience,” she said. “Studying in Japan is one of my life-long dreams, and to have it fulfilled at such an early age is incredible. My husband will miss me dearly but he strongly supports my dream.”

Shields, who departs for Japan in August for a three-month-plus stay, said her experience at Troy University has prepared her for the cultural change.

“TROY is a school that has many opportunities to learn about other cultures without having to go anywhere, and we have many international students from whom to learn,” she said. “With that aspect, I have learned to respect other cultures without criticism.”

“I can’t wait to step off that plane in Japan,” she added.

Since its inception, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program has awarded scholarships to more than 4,728 undergraduate students from around the nation who have studied in more than 74 countries worldwide. She was nominated for the scholarship by the University’s Office of International Programs.