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MICA Leads in Gilman Scholarships, Sending Seven Abroad This Year

Four MICA students were awarded scholarships for spring 2011 study

Posted 02.01.11 by mica communications

One of the first questions MICA's director of International Affairs, Petra Visscher, asks students upon meeting them is, "Do you have a Pell Grant?" When the answer to her question is positive, her next words are simple, "You must apply for a Gilman Scholarship."

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which provides federal grants to U.S. undergraduate students who wish to pursue academic study abroad. Visscher's efforts to promote the scholarship have been extraordinarily successful: In the past year, seven students from MICA--more than any other art school--were chosen as recipients of the highly competitive scholarship.

"International education is important because it prepares our students to better understand the world, one that is becoming increasingly global and interconnected," Visscher explained. "A lack of money does not have to be a roadblock to having this experience. "

Stephanie McKee '10, who studied in Durban, South Africa, during fall 2010 said, "I felt a pull to Durban that was very specific to me, but the whole endeavor seemed financially impossible. Getting to go was like a miracle."

"I chose an academic-based program, and I had to work to incorporate independent study in art into my academic schedule," McKee said. "I actually ended up finishing my senior thesis--which is about the artwork of Zululand prisoners--while I was there. One of the great things going abroad taught me was that if I wasn't being asked to make art, I still had an unstoppable urge to create. ... The scholarship and travel was so important to understanding my identity as an artist."

Four MICA students were awarded scholarships for spring 2011 study: Olivia Ady '12 and Nabilia Daredia '12, who will both study in Indonesia, Louise Lee '13, who will study in South Korea, and Patricia Pogodzinski '13, who will study in Poland.