Whitesell Awarded Gilman Scholarship to Study Abroad

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

HELENA - Carroll College is pleased to announce that Rebecca Whitesell is one of 395 American undergraduate students from 152 colleges and universities across the United States selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad during the summer of 2019. Whitesell, a psychology major from Arlee, Mont., will be a senior this fall and is currently interning in Santiago, Chile.

In Santiago, Whitesell is actively working alongside a female entrepreneur who runs Casa Esperanza, a residence for girls who are over the age limit to be in an orphanage and Hogar La Granja, an orphanage for underage girls who have experienced trauma and abuse in their lives.

Casa Esperanza and Hogar La Granja is an NGO that serves children, adolescents, and young women in La Pintana, a southern suburb of Santiago. The mission is the help meet the physical, emotional, spiritual, and educational needs of children and young people. La Pintana is one of the poorest, most socio-economically disadvantaged communities in the Santiago metro area. Some of the area's most complex problems involve dropping out of high school, teen pregnancy, alcoholism, drug abuse, and addiction. Casa Esperanza is a residence that gives opportunities and educational scholarships to young people to break the circle of poverty. Casa Esperanza and Hogar La Granja encompass a variety of programs and assistance like complete residence, economic contribution, and psychosocial support services.

As an intern at Casa Esperanza and Hogar La Granja, Whitesell’s responsibilities are vast including helping the residents with their understanding of time management, acquiring independent life skills, and providing emotional support. Also, she teaches English while the residents help her to improve her Spanish. Whitesell shared that recently she has have taken on the opportunity to work with one brilliant girl at Hogar La Granja who suffers from depression and is considered high risk by her therapist. As a trusted intern of Casa Esperanza and Hogar La Granja, Whitesell provides motivation and guidance as well as enhanced awareness of mental illness.

“My time in Chile has been an incredible journey and every day I am learning more about a variety of issues that these children must face every day and the reality of the socio-economic caste system in Chile. I am grateful to be here and look forward to working more closely with Casa Esperanza and Hogar La Granja,” said Whitesell.

Whitesell is the third Carroll College student in the past two years to receive a Gilman scholarship. Rachel Wall ’19 studied abroad in Morocco this past spring semester. Cierra Powell ’18 interned in Ecuador in the summer of 2017, served as a Gilman ambassador, and recently earned a Fulbright award to be an English teaching assistant in the Canary Islands beginning in September.

The Gilman International Scholarship Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and is supported in its implementation by IIE. The Gilman scholarships started in 2001 to provide financial opportunities to students with limited financial means who are historically underrepresented in study abroad programs. The program offers grants of up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students participating in credit-bearing study abroad programs or international internships. Since its inception, more than 28,000 students in the U.S. have had the opportunity to study and intern abroad with the help of Gilman funds.

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