Gilman Scholarship funds student’s studies in Dijon, France

Photo of McDaniel College student Jocelyn Diaz
February 28, 2017

Jocelyn Diaz, a junior from Reisterstown, Md., has earned a Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Dijon, France, this summer. She is the fifth McDaniel College student to receive the prestigious award.

A triple major in Business Administration, Accounting Economics and French, Diaz is among 850 recipients from across the nation selected for a Gilman and will receive a $2,500 scholarship. She plans to study at the International Center for French Studies (CIEF) at the University of Burgundy for 12 weeks during the summer of 2017, where she will take courses while fulfilling Gilman-required volunteer and service projects.

“Cooking is one of my hobbies, and one of the things that interests me the most about Dijon is the thriving gastronomy for which it’s known, specifically Dijon mustard,” says Diaz, who is already fluent in Spanish and English. “To me, learning a language doesn’t only mean learning the grammar of it; learning about the culture where the language comes from is also really important. Being in France for 12 weeks will give me the chance to immerse myself in the French and the European culture.”

The Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, provides grants to U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to enable them to study abroad. The program aims to diversify the group of students who study abroad and their destinations, and prepares students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and independent world.

Diaz was born in in El Salvador and came to the United States at the age of 11. She is an advisory board member for the College’s Global Bridge Program for U.S.-based students who were born or grew up abroad or are bicultural or binational.

“When I was little and growing up in El Salvador, I would dream about learning many languages and traveling the world. It’s still hard to believe that this can happen to me, a Hispanic girl who wasn’t even born in the U.S.,” she says. “The Gilman Scholarship was made for students like me. Students who come from a group of people to whom these types of things do not usually happen.”

Diaz is president of the Campus Catholic Ministry and is past president of the Hispano-Latino Alliance and Palabras to Words, a student organization that tutors native Spanish speakers in English. She serves as French tutor, a resident assistant and an outreach specialist with the Wellness Center at McDaniel, and has volunteered with the College’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Diaz is currently interning at Strauss and Associates, P.A., CPA, in Owings Mills, Md. 

Other students who received Gilman Scholarship as juniors at the College include: Rhaelynn Givens ’12, who studied in Budapest, Hungary; Izabella Baer-Benchoff ’12, who traveled to Amman, Jordan; Hayoung Kim ’13, studied in Beijing; and Serra Berry ’15, traveled to Costa Rica.

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