Borisova, Garcia Awarded Gilman Scholarships for Study Abroad
May 29, 2015
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International
Scholarship Program has awarded study abroad scholarships to Illinois Wesleyan University students Boryana Borisova ’17 (Elgin,
Illinois) and Ruby Garcia ’17 (Evanston, Illinois).
Gilman scholarships are awarded to U.S. undergraduates, including students from diverse
backgrounds and students going to non-traditional study abroad destinations, with
financial need. The program was established under the International Academic Opportunity
Act of 2000. More than 850 students received awards for fall 2015 and the coming academic
year from nearly 2,900 applications.
Garcia, a Hispanic Studies major, will receive $4,000 for study of comparative education and social change in
Santiago, Chile, through the School for International Training (SIT). As part of the
program, she will take courses in education quality and equity, bilingual intercultural
education, and research methods, and will complete an independent study project.
Garcia said she is looking forward to comparisons between the Chilean and the American
approaches to bilingual education. "I am also very excited to explore all Chile has
to offer," she said.
Although study abroad in South America is relatively inexpensive compared to other
locations, Garcia said the Gilman scholarship is providing her the opportunity to
An International Studies major, Borisova will receive $8,000 for study in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the
Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Her courses will focus on Russian
history, culture, politics, civilization and cinema. While in Russia Borisova will
explore the impact of politics on visual culture at an internship at the Pushkin Children’s
“Fourteen years ago my family and I moved to America from Sofia, Bulgaria, with not
a word of English nor a stable income,” said Borisova. “Not only am I privileged to
be attending Illinois Wesleyan University, but I am more than grateful for the opportunities
that have come after. My zeal to pursue Russian area studies can only be fulfilled
with the aid of the Gilman Scholarship.” She credited the guidance and leadership
of Isaac Funk Professor of Russian and German Marina Balina for her successful Gilman
At Illinois Wesleyan Borisova is a member of the varsity women’s tennis team, Alpha
Gamma Delta sorority, and a research assistant to Balina. Borisova is also a Russian
and Spanish language tutor and founded Illinois Wesleyan’s chapter of Students Today
Leaders Forever, which will help launch IWU’s first community service road trip in