Aissatou Diagne ’24, a sociomedical sciences major on the pre-nursing track from the Bronx, NY, has won a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to South Korea in the 2022–23 national competition. She will spend Spring 2023 in Seoul, South Korea, with the Sogang University Exchange. Since 2007, 38 Geneseo students have won Gilman scholarships.
The State Department award financially assists US undergraduates of limited financial means in pursuing academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad to better prepare them to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.
“I grew up in a marginalized community and witnessed firsthand how different social determinants of health—socio-economic factors, such as education, race, and environmental stressors—can cause underserved communities to bear the consequences,” Diagne says. “My parents came to America from Senegal for a better life and an efficient healthcare system, only to face expensive hospital bills, limited access to insurance, and healthcare workers whose implicit bias influenced their advised treatment.”
Diagne would like to return to the Bronx to bring about change by helping patients who face the same issues. “I am passionate about improving the health and quality of life for many individuals,” she says, “which is why I aspire to be a nurse practitioner and work closely with patients to give them proper treatment.”
She notes that to be most effective in the multicultural environment of New York City, “I need to be more culturally competent, so I can provide care to patients that supports and aligns with their beliefs. So studying in Seoul will provide a different cultural perspective.”
Diagne’s desire to go to South Korea has its roots in a memorable high school study abroad to Morocco where she drew from past experiences to both cope and share her story and culture. At Sogang, she sees another opportunity with her US and Korean peers “to both educate and learn because many of our struggles will come from a shared place.”
The recipients of the prestigious Gilman Scholarship attend 452 US colleges and represent all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Gilman Scholars will study or intern in 80 countries through the end of 2023. Since the program’s establishment in 2001, more than 1,300 US institutions have sent more than 36,000 scholars of diverse backgrounds to 155 countries around the globe.
Gilman Scholarship applications for Summer 2023, Fall 2023, and academic year 2023–24 are open with a March 8 submission deadline. Students and alumni seeking more information and assistance with applications for the Gilman International Scholarship and any other fellowship or scholarship program should contact Michael Mills, Director of National Fellowships and Scholarships, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-245-6002.