Two Radford students awarded State Department scholarships for study abroad

Te’ana Schmitt

Two Radford University students have been awarded the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to apply toward their study abroad programs this summer and fall in France.

The recipients are Te’ana Schmitt, a rising senior communication major from Roanoke, Virginia, and Luc White, a senior from Richlands, Virginia. White, who uses the pronouns they, them and theirs, is double majoring in studio art, with a concentration in photography, and biology, concentrating in ecology. They have three minors: French, chemistry and women’s and gender studies.

Each student has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship, the maximum given through the Gilman awards. “This is a very competitive process and a significant accomplishment for our students,” said Chief Global Officer and Assistant Provost for Global Education and Engagement Ismael Betancourt. “The Gilman award will undoubtedly help them subsidize the costs associated with their study abroad experience. I am very proud of these students for their determination to become Radford global citizens, and look forward to hearing their incredible stories upon their return.”

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a U.S. Department of State grant program enabling students of limited financial means and underrepresented students to study or intern abroad. The selection process is competitive, requiring multiple essays and a service project proposal. 

Radford University’s McGlothlin Center for Global Education and Engagement (MCGEE) worked with Schmitt and White to apply for and secure the scholarships as part of its mission to support Radford students, faculty and staff interested in pursuing international initiatives that result in a positive impact for those individuals and the campus community.

Luc White

“It's such a wonderful feeling to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to study abroad,” Schmitt said. “I had the pleasure of working with my abroad advisor, Sara Coulson [MCGEE’s education abroad coordinator], and the Harvey Knowledge Center helped me gain the confidence to fulfill the courage of facing the scholarship. It means a lot to receive a scholarship to help better benefit my dreams and goals.”

Schmitt will attend the Institut des Strategies et Techniques de Communication (ISTC) and the Universite Chatholique de Lille in the fall. There, she plans to “invest in learning new things, share my culture and better myself by being active in the French culture and community,” she said. “This exchange of ideas and friendship will build mutual understanding while studying in the ISTC exchange program. Also, I will take advantage of French language classes, continue my communication classes and connect with other French-language learners and the community.”

This summer, White is living in Lyon, France, studying at the Université Catholique de Lyon. Without the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, White “could not have realistically traveled or studied in France. All I can express properly is how grateful I am, not only for being awarded, but for the help I received in getting it,” White continued. “I don’t believe I could have gotten it without the help of Sara Coulson and the people over in the McGlothlin Center for Global Education and Engagement. From the very get-go, Sara was there to help, keep my spirits up and guide me through the application process. I can’t stress her and the center’s help enough.”

White in enrolled in a range of classes at the Université Catholique de Lyon, from upper-level French language courses, to a course “studying about French architecture where the city of Lyon becomes the background for the classroom, an upper-level class on Francophone women writers and how they have influenced French literature, and lastly,” they said, “a course on the history, social station, literature and art, and generally the influence of the LGBTQIA+ community in France. I’m super excited for all the courses.”

To learn more about MCGEE and international opportunities available through Radford University, contact Sara Coulson at or 540-831-5567.

Jun 17, 2022
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761