Kansas State University student receives Gilman International Scholarship to study biology in Belize
Friday, May 6, 2016
MANHATTAN — A Kansas State University student will study and work with monkeys, jaguars and other exotic animals in Belize this summer as part of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.
Jerusha Matthews, senior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology, Leavenworth, will research black howler monkeys and jaguars at the Belize Zoo. She also will take courses through a Belize study abroad center in wildlife, health, ecology, conservation and large animal veterinary practices in the tropics.
"I chose Belize because I enjoy surrounding myself with cultures completely different from my own and learning about the country's customs, history and achievements," Matthews said. "Outside of my courses, I am excited to tour the Mayan archeological sites because history of ancient civilizations is another of my fascinations. I am ecstatic about the opportunity to see such an amazing part of history."
The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program is congressionally funded and established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. The Gilman Scholarship gives U.S. undergraduate students up to $5,000 to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.
Matthews, who is a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, plans to create a documentary of her experience abroad to show not only her personal adventure but also to promote the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program.
"I think my documentary will show my own personal growth, and I'm excited to share that with others," she said. "I hope it will be an encouragement to other students to participate in these kinds of programs."
A first-generation college student, Matthews has served in a variety of roles in student organizations, including treasurer and secretary of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., senior zoo liaison for the university's Pre-Vet Club and secretary of National Pan-Hellenic Council. She received the Susi Tunstall Creating Families Scholarship and the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association scholarship.
In spring 2015, Matthews spent two weeks conducting animal behavior research on whipped tail lizard species in Mexico. She examined the lizards' foraging behaviors with a research team from the University of Kansas. In fall 2015, she assisted Kansas State University graduate students with processing insect samples from the Konza Prairie in the laboratory of Alice Boyle, assistant professor of biology. For two years, she has volunteered as an animal handler at Sunset Zoo.
In December 2015, she was crowned Alpha Phi Alpha's Miss Black and Gold 2015-2016. This December, she plans to graduate and then either enter veterinary school or a graduate program focusing on animal behavior.
The daughter of Cedric and Michelle Graham, Leavenworth, Matthews is a graduate of Leavenworth High School.
The Gilman Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Since 2001, the scholarship program has been offering grants to U.S. citizens with high financial need to help them pursue undergraduate studies abroad in hopes of preparing students to assume significant roles in a global economy. Award recipients are chosen through a competitive selection process.
To learn more about competing for future Gilman Scholarships or other scholarships while a student at Kansas State University, contact Jim Hohenbary in the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-532-3422.