Baylor Senior Wins Prestigious Gilman Scholarship

August 18, 2008

by Paige Connell, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321

Baylor University student Sarah Rafique, a junior journalism major from Georgetown, has been awarded the prestigious Gilman Scholarship, which will allow her to study in Egypt for the fall semester.

Rafique will use her $8,000 award to study Arabic at the American University in Cairo. She is among the more than 1,200 American undergraduate students across the nation to receive the Gilman Scholarship, which is chosen by a competitive selection process. The award helps defray study abroad costs such as program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare.

"Getting the scholarship in the first place was an absolute delight," Rafique said. "Because it is government money, I was just extremely humbled that they saw something in me in which they felt I would be a good ambassador for the U.S. while abroad in Egypt."

With her background in journalism and Middle East studies, Rafique plans to become fluent in Arabic and be a foreign correspondent and international journalist. "I am a journalism major and a Middle East studies minor, so Egypt is a great place for me to spend four months. What better way to learn about the Middle East than to live there and experience everything first hand?" she said.

"I am excited for Sarah because she brought real skills and proven expertise to the competition. She has everything she needed--beginning language skills in Arabic, a solid preparation in journalism and Middle Eastern Studies at Baylor--to maximize her time in Egypt," said Professor Elizabeth Vardaman, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship has to date made awards to 3,102 U.S. undergraduate students. These scholarships have enabled recipients to study worldwide in more than 80 different nations including Cameroon, Egypt, Uruguay, Latvia and many more. Past Gilman Scholars have gone on to receive many prestigious awards including Fulbright Scholarships and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships to pursue graduate work and research abroad, work overseas in a variety of capacities and pursue graduate study within the U.S.

This congressionally funded program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education--Southern Regional Center in Houston. For more information, please visit