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K-State News
Kansas State University
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Gilman scholarship gives pre-vet students opportunities to study profession abroad

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021


MANHATTAN — Two Kansas State University pre-veterinary students from Manhattan will use the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to gain veterinary experience abroad.

Destiny Serrano, senior, and Caitlin Snyder, sophomore, both in the pre-veterinary option of K-State's animal sciences and industry major, are the university's latest recipients of the Gilman scholarship, which helps U.S. undergraduate students at two-year or four-year colleges or universities participate in study abroad programs worldwide. Gilman scholarships are congressionally funded and established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000.

Both Serrano and Snyder will use their scholarships to work with Loop Abroad, which offers student veterinary services programs around the world. Serrano will work with Loop Abroad in Thailand, while Snyder will work with the organization in South Africa. Both trips are planned for this summer, contingent upon the status of the pandemic.

In Thailand, Serrano will work alongside a veterinarian at a dog shelter for a week to learn about and assist with spay and neuter procedures. During her second week, she will live at an elephant sanctuary to learn how to care for rescued elephants. In her third week, she will live with an exchange family in a rural village and continue working with rescued elephants and assisting local residents with community activities such as chopping sugar cane, planting trees and teaching children English at the local school while she learns the Thai language.

While in South Africa, Snyder will study the anatomy, behavior and conservation of big cats for two weeks and then spend two weeks learning about South African zoo husbandry and management. Both projects will include working with wild cubs and rescued animals to study their anatomy and behavior, and working with South African veterinarians to learn how they treat and care for these animals so they can be released back into the wild.

Active on campus and in the community, Serrano is community service chair for Veterinary Voyagers and a member of the K-State Rodeo Club. She is a Riley County Humane Society volunteer, therapeutic riding instructor at Hope Ranch, serves on the policy council of College Hill Preschool and works as the manager of an apartment building and as a restaurant server, both in Manhattan. Serrano has received the Beckman Memorial Scholarship, Elmer and Margaret A. Gardner Memorial Scholarship and the Stella Harris Scholarship, as well as a Pell Grant, Bluemont Grant, Kansas Comprehensive Grant and Educational Opportunity Fund. She is married to Erik Serrano Sr. and has a son, Erik Jr.

"I am extremely grateful to have been awarded the Gilman Scholarship," Serrano said. "This scholarship will allow me to participate in a wonderful study abroad program that I otherwise would have never been able to afford. With this opportunity, I will be able to gain more experience pertaining to my future career goals as a veterinarian and grow as an individual by being able to experience cultures and lifestyles outside of my own."

Snyder is a member of the K-State Honors Program, Pre-Vet Club, Veterinary Voyagers and Phi Eta Sigma, the national freshmen honor society. She has received the Vanier Family Scholarship, A.W. Michael and William Michael Scholarship, Elmer and Margaret A. Gardner Memorial Scholarship, and Foundation Plus Scholarship. She is the daughter of Scott and Trisha Snyder, Manhattan.

"I want to study abroad because my goal is to be a veterinarian working with exotic animals," Snyder said. "I feel the best way to get in close contact with some of these animals is to be where they live in the wild. The Gilman scholarship helps me achieve this goal because I did not have the funds to participate in this program without a scholarship."

The next Gilman Scholarship application deadline is March 2 for students planning to go abroad in the summer 2021 or fall 2021 terms. Students also may apply for the scholarship and receive an early decision if they are planning to go abroad in the spring 2022 semester. A Gilman information session will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 5.More information and a link to register can be found here. 

Contact Sara Boro, Education Abroad advisor, at seboro@k-state.edu for any additional questions.


Sara Boro


Education Abroad


Download the following photo.

Destiny Serrano

Destiny Serrano, Kansas State University senior and a Gilman scholarship recipient.

Download the following photo.

Caitlin Snyder

Caitlin Snyder, Kansas State University sophomore and a Gilman scholarship recipient.

Written by

Beth Bohn