FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 21, 2010
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081
MTSU TOPS TENNESSEE SCHOOLS IN GILMAN SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
Federal Funding Sends Students to Japan and France for Language Education
(MURFREESBORO) –MTSU will send four of its students, more than any other institution in the state of Tennessee, abroad with stipends from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program next academic year as exchange students engaged in intensive language study.
Approximately 2,900 students from across the country applied for more than 1,000 awards from the prestigious and highly competitive program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Tekisha Bailey of Nashville and Justin Bingham of Murfreesboro, will use their $3,000 allocations to spend the 2010-2011 year at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan.
Bailey, a junior English major who minors in secondary education and Japanese, says she is spending the summer poring over her Japanese language textbook and outside sources to become more familiar with the language before she arrives in Fukuoka.
“Eventually, I hope to get into the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program or go back to Japan on a Fulbright scholarship and teaching English over there or teach Japanese or English in the public schools here,” says Bailey.
Bingham is an electronic media communication major with an emphasis in digital animation and a minor in art. While he says he has drawn off and on for a long time, his interest in Japan was inspired by his next-door neighbors, who introduced him to their native country’s unique animation style.
“Every day as I was growing up, I would hear them talk,” Bingham remembers. “I would borrow their Japanese TV videos. They were different and cool.”
Bingham’s other motivation is more personal. He was born with retinopathy of prematurity, a vision impairment stemming from his arrival into the world three-and-a-half months early. Bingham, who weighed only one-and-a-half pounds at birth, spent the first six months of his life in an incubator.
“I want to show people that I can do whatever I want,” Burgin says. “It might take a little longer, but animation is all about the end product.”
Joshua Burgin, an electronic media communication major from Louisville, Tenn., will study at l’Universite de Caen Basse-Normandie in Caen, France with a $5,000 scholarship.
Burgin, who minors in French, became intrigued with his country of destination after viewing New Wave director Francois Truffaut’s film “L’argent de poche” (“Pocket Money”) when he was 14 years old. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to study abroad as a college student.
However, a life-changing experience is steering him away from film as a career. When he was a high school senior, Burgin weighed 300 pounds. Over the past three years, he has shed 137 of those pounds.
Now Burgin wants to attend culinary school in France and focus on low-calorie baking. He already has a head-start with his blog at www.chefjoshuaburgin.com, where he writes, “I now own my own business, and after an inspirational meeting with Michelle Bommarito (Food Network Challenge), I have decided culinary arts is where my future lies. … My ultimate goal is to one day own my own thriving bakery!”
Megan Erickson, a global studies major from Thompsons Station, will go to Saitama University in Saitama, Japan, with a $4,000 stipend. Erickson, who minors in Japanese and business administration, says she admires the kindness and generosity of the Japanese people, qualities she hopes to apply to a career in the hospitality field in Asia.
“I love serving people,” Erickson says. “I love the atmosphere of hotels and resorts where people leave their hectic lives behind and go to relax.”
Erickson’s yearning to know more about other cultures prompted her to choose global studies as a major.
“All throughout childhood, I was taught only about America,” says Erickson. “I was so excited and grateful when I heard I got this scholarship.”
“The Gilman Scholarship Program seeks to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go,” says Rhonda Waller, director of the Office of Education Abroad and Student Exchange. “Specifically, the Gilman Program offers scholarships for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad.”
Undergraduate students who receive federal Pell Grant funding at two-year or four-year institutions are eligible to apply. Gilman scholarships may be applied to tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare.
The deadline to apply for Gilman scholarships for spring 2011 is October 5, 2010. Interested students can find eligibility guidelines and application procedures at www.iie.org/gilman. For more information about MTSU study abroad programs, contact Waller at 615-898-5179 or email@example.com.
ATTENTION, MEDIA: For color jpeg photographs of Gilman Scholarship winners (Tekisha Bailey, Justin Bingham, Joshua Burgin and Megan Erickson), contact Gina Logue in the MTSU Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and former faculty, Middle Tennessee State University confers master’s degrees in 10 areas, the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. MTSU is ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation in the Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2009 survey.