Six Students Win Prestigious Gilman Scholarships

Gilman award winners 2024

Front, L to R: Addie Balogun ’27, Victoria Tripp ’24. Back, L to R: Stephanie Santiago ’25, Abbyy George ’24, Yairi Rosario ’24. Not pictured: Cadence Panol ’26. (SUNY Geneseo photo/Matt Burkhartt)

In a national competition, six SUNY Geneseo students have won 2024–25 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships: Addie Balogun ’27 (Senegal); Abbyy George ’24 (Senegal); Cadence Panol ’26 (Senegal); Yairi Rosario ’24 (Barbados); Stephanie Santiago ’25 (Spain); and Victoria Tripp ‘24 (Senegal). Since 2007, 56 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. The goal is to better prepare students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.

Addie Balogun, a French and communication double major from Long Island, NY, will spend Summer 2024 in Dakar, Senegal, with Geneseo’s Modernity in West Africa study abroad program, led by associate professor of Francophone studies Kodjo Adabra and assistant professor of English Olaocha Nwabara. Balogun immigrated from Nigeria when she was an infant and considers her study abroad in Senegal as a chance to “reconnect with my West African roots and prepare for a life as a United Nations ambassador by representing the United States abroad.”

Abbyy George, from Brooklyn, NY, is a first-generation sociology major who plans a career as a mental health professional. Her parents immigrated from the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, and she believes traveling to Senegal offers a “once-in-a-lifetime intellectual, physical, and spiritual journey to rediscover who I am by re-connecting with the Motherland.” Her time in West Africa will allow her to develop a “nuanced appreciation for the diverse ways in which mental health is perceived and addressed across different societies.”

Cadence Panol, an individualized studies major in visual communication and production with minors in dance studies and College Honors, grew up in Bradford, PA, with a Russian mother and a Polish father. She will spend the summer in Senegal with the Modernity in West Africa program researching “the ways Senegalese dance influences the nation’s culture, as well as how it has been influenced by dance in America and Europe.” An experienced performer, Panol hopes to “pick up on African movement patterns quickly, their origins and cultural meanings, and apply what I learn to my own dance and scholarship.”

Yairi Rosario, Bronx, NY, is a psychology major and first-generation immigrant from the Dominican Republic. She will spend the fall semester in Barbados taking psychology classes through the University of the West Indies exchange program. “This study abroad program will serve as a ladder to the battle humanity faces between the ‘I’ and the ‘we,’ as something other than the limited westernized perspectives classrooms in America provide me with.” After graduation, Rosario will seek a master’s degree in social work ahead of a career as a school counselor.

Stephanie Santiago, from Mount Morris, NY, is a Spanish major with a linguistics minor. She will spend summer semester in Córdoba, Madrid, and Santiago de Compostela with the Communication and Culture in Spain study abroad program led by associate professor of Spanish Lori Bernard and associate professor of Spanish Susana Castillo-Rodríguez. Immersion in Spain’s culture, as well as walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, will “enhance my linguistic proficiency and provide valuable insights into cross-cultural communication, essential skills for becoming a translator for immigrants and a speech-language pathologist.”

Victoria Tripp, from Oswego, NY, is a communication major with minors in political science and philosophy. She considers this summer’s Modernity in West Africa program important to her career plans of becoming a meteorologist documenting weather pattern shifts due to climate change and subsequent efforts at mitigation. “When considering the effects of worldwide weather alterations, it is vital to take into account that underdeveloped countries will be disproportionately affected, specifically on the African continent and the South Asian subcontinent.”

Gilman Awards at Geneseo

“Geneseo’s success with this competitive award highlights the emphasis that the institution places on study abroad experiences and developing an ethical sense of global citizenship,” says Mary C. Toale, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Our talented, creative, and accomplished students are excellent ambassadors who are interested in the world’s cultures and people. The Gilman program provides the means for financially challenged students to have experiences that will enrich both their lives and our campus when they return."

The recipients of this prestigious scholarship attend 500 US colleges and represent all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Gilman Scholars will study or intern in 90 countries through the end of 2024. On average, 70 percent of Gilman recipients self-identify as racial or ethnic minorities, 60 percent are from rural areas and small towns across America, and half are first-generation college or university students.

The next Gilman application cycle for spring and summer semesters 2025 will open in mid-August 2024. Students and alumni seeking more information about and assistance with applications for the Gilman International Scholarship and any other fellowship or scholarship program should visit National Fellowships and Scholarships or contact Michael Mills, director of national fellowships and scholarships, at or 585-245-6002.

—Michael Mills