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Two Students Chosen for Gilman International Scholarships


JONESBORO – A pair of Arkansas State University students have been selected as recipients of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The winners are Allison Shands of Cave City and Brenna Cannon of Mountain Home. The Gilman Scholarship provides funding to students who wish to study or intern abroad.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions, the Gilman Scholarship program is allowing student recipients to defer their awards until 2021. Shands plans to study Spanish in Costa Rica with the A-State faculty-led Spanish immersion program, while Cannon will have the opportunity to conduct research in the soil and water lab while studying at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

“After such a long and difficult semester and cancellation of study abroad trips, this award notification was a light in the darkness,” said Shands.

Cannon added, "Receiving the Gilman Scholarship will make my dreams of traveling abroad come true. I am so honored to receive this scholarship and I cannot wait to take advantage of all Australia has to offer. Studying abroad during college is a great way to experience new cultures while learning from diverse environments. College is a great time to step out of your comfort zone and study abroad.”

Shands, a senior at A-State, is majoring in accounting with a minor in Spanish. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in May of 2021, and has been accepted into the accelerated MAcc program and will graduate with a master’s degree in accountancy in December 2021. Shands plans to obtain a certified public accountant (CPA) license and work in auditing. Her goal is to be a chief financial officer.

Heavily involved with the Honors College at A-State, Shands serves on the Honors College Association executive board as Honors ambassador coordinator. She also interned for the Women’s Leadership Center at Arkansas State last semester and at Jones and Company, Ltd.

Cannon is a senior who has a double major in plant and soil sciences and agribusiness. She is active in numerous organizations, including Honors College, Sigma Alpha, Phi Kappa Alpha, Phi Beta Lambda, College of Agriculture Ambassadors, Agribusiness Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, FFA alumni, and Arkansas Women in Agriculture.

She recently placed second in parliamentary procedure in the 2020 Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Experience and Competition.

Cannon and Shands join an elite group of A-State students who have received the Gilman Scholarship, bringing the total to 17. Bailee Carter of Mountain Hime was selected in the fall of 2019 for study in Thailand. Also in 2019, Sierra Clark of Pleasant Plains went to Australia and Montana Greve of Norfork studied in Ireland. Amanda Medaries of Monroe, La., was awarded a Gilman Scholarship in fall 2018 and studied abroad at North-West University in the Republic of South Africa.

Tyler Brown of Hot Springs and Alyssa Green of Sheridan were named recipients in spring 2018. Kandria Driskill of Sheridan, who was awarded a Gilman Scholarship in fall 2017, studied abroad at North-West University in the Republic of South Africa. Julian Jackson of Monticello studied in Austria in the fall of 2017, Hannah Massey of Walnut Ridge spent time in spring 2017 in Northern Ireland, and Raj N. Patel of Bryant studied in Japan during the summer of 2016.

James Frye of West Monroe, La., visited Thailand and Jenny Cheng of Jonesboro studied in Spain in the spring of 2013, and Jonathan Carmichael of Black Oak went to Costa Rica in summer 2013. Leslie Ginn of Walnut Ridge was selected to study in Costa Rica during summer 2012 and Michael Markin of Cave City spent the summer of 2013 studying in China.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas.  Since 2001, the Gilman Scholarship has enabled more than 31,000 Americans of diverse backgrounds to engage in a meaningful educational experience abroad. The program has successfully broadened U.S. participation in study abroad, while emphasizing countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study.

The late Congressman Benjamin Gilman, for whom the scholarship is named, served in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee.

The Gilman Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Brenna Cannon

Brenna Cannon

Allison Shands
Allison Shands