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Northwest Missouri State University


Student Spotlight

Northwest student Kayla Pelsor is studying this fall in Morocco, where she took advantage of a chance to hike Mount Toubkal and challenge herself academically. Pelsor and Northwest student Emily Cordell are recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship in support of their study abroad experiences. (Submitted photo)

Northwest student Kayla Pelsor is studying this fall in Morocco, where she took advantage of a chance to hike Mount Toubkal and challenge herself academically. Pelsor and Northwest student Emily Cordell are recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship in support of their study abroad experiences. (Submitted photo)

Oct. 6, 2017

Cordell, Pelsor awarded Gilman scholarships to study abroad

By Hannah Brod, media relations assistant

While studying abroad in New Zealand during the summer, Emily Cordell interned at Hawke’s Bay Wine Company, working on an organic overview report and strategy for implementation.

While studying abroad in New Zealand during the summer, Emily Cordell interned at Hawke’s Bay Wine Company, working on an organic overview report and strategy for implementation. (Submitted photo)

Two Northwest Missouri State University students are recipients of a prestigious scholarship to support study abroad opportunities.

The U.S. Department of State recently announced Emily Cordell, a senior agricultural sciences major from Skidmore, Missouri, and Kayla Pelsor, a senior political science major from Belton, Missouri, are recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. They are among 1,000 American undergraduate students from 386 colleges and universities to receive the award.

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas. The Gilman scholarship supports American undergraduate students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad and, since 2001, has enabled more than 24,000 students of diverse backgrounds to engage in meaningful educational experiences abroad.

Cordell studied in New Zealand during the summer and Pelsor is studying this fall in Morocco. Both say they could not have studied abroad without the scholarship award. 

“I could not be more thankful for winning the Gilman,” Pelsor said. “It was a lot of work, but in the end, it all paid off. I’ve met other people in my program that have also won the Gilman, and it’s awesome to see what a difference this particular scholarship has made for myself and other students.”

While seeing other parts of the world and experiencing other cultures is valuable, study abroad experiences also provide the educational benefits of learning a new approach in an academic field, Jeaneth Puriel-Foot, the manager of Northwest’s study abroad program, said. Skills and lessons students learn can shape their lives and careers for years to come.

“I hope students have challenging academic experiences that make them better students, better prepared professionals and committed citizens to our world,” Puriel-Foot said. “I hope students are able to learn about themselves as much as they are able to learn about others. I hope they are able to see the beauty in our differences and enjoy living in a completely different environment to their own. I hope living and learning abroad transforms their lives.”

Pelsor’s study abroad experience already has allowed her to explore locations in Morocco, including Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in northern Africa, and challenge herself academically.

“My classes have also been really good,” she said. “They are challenging, but it’s been great to study global politics from a new perspective.”

Cordell said she enjoyed building friendships with other students and weekend excursions, such as bungee jumping in Taupo.

“If anyone is thinking about studying abroad and they are scared, just do it,” she said. “It’s definitely worth it.”

For more information about study abroad experiences offered by Northwest, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/international/studyabroad/


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468