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Kansas State University student to use Gilman Scholarship to prepare for career helping others

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2015 

MANHATTAN — Kansas State University student and community volunteer Marcus Dominguez is looking forward to a semester studying abroad because he believes it will help him better serve others.

Dominguez, junior in sociology and pre-law, Sycamore, Illinois, will expand his Spanish-speaking skills in Costa Rica during the fall 2015 semester as a part of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program.

The 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. It is awarded to students with a high financial need and the potential to assume significant roles in a global economy.

Dominguez plans to attend law school with an emphasis in immigration, international, child or family law and believes that studying in Costa Rica will help him prepare for that career.

"Learning Spanish while studying abroad will help me communicate with and help so many more people," Dominguez said. "Being surrounded by a different culture will teach me lessons that I can fall back on in the future."

Dominguez will live with a host family in San Jose, Costa Rica, and take Spanish classes from September to December. In addition, Dominguez will immerse himself in the culture, which will help him communicate with people from diverse backgrounds while volunteering and as an immigration attorney.

"Seeing a new country and being immersed in a new culture will be a valuable learning experience — one that I think we should all experience," Dominguez said. "Right now I can speak Spanish pretty well, but not fluently, which will I need to do to better help the Spanish-speaking community in the United States — especially to explain complex issues that could come up in the law."

As a member of the university's Developing Scholars Program, Dominquez researches immigration reform. He presented his research "Land Use, Immigration and Legislation in Kansas" at Undergraduate Research Day at the state capitol in February. His research compares three Kansas farms that are affected by immigration legislation.

"Through this comparison, we hope to learn more about the relationship between land use, immigration and legislation," Dominguez said. "The results of our study may help to shed light on broader economic, political and demographic changes in other parts of the country."

Dominguez also is a police response advocate at the Crisis Center in Manhattan where he provides crisis intervention and safety planning services to victims of domestic violence. He also volunteers at the Manhattan Boys and Girls Club and volunteered at the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals office in Salina in 2012.

His additional honors and awards include the Eclipse Award from the Developing Scholars Program, the Goss Discovery Scholarship, Kansas State University Undergraduate Research Award, James Coffman Award of Excellence, Kansas State Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship and Kansas State Heritage Scholarship. Dominguez is a 2012 graduate of Sycamore High School and the son of Carlos and Jenny Dominguez, Sycamore, Illinois.

Dominguez is a student in the College of Arts & Sciences. 


Jim Hohenbary,



News tip

Sycamore, Illinois

Written by

Stephanie Jacques,

At a glance

Marcus Dominguez, junior in sociology, Sycamore, Illinois, received a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship.