Eight MTSU students awarded Gilman Scholarships to...

Eight MTSU students awarded Gilman Scholarships to study abroad this summer

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Eight Middle Tennessee State University students received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this summer.

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students to study or intern abroad, enabling American students to gain proficiency in diverse languages and cultures, skills that are critically important to their academic and career development.

Office of Education Abroad logo; study abroad;

Applicants must be federal Pell Grant recipients to apply. Students chosen as Gilman scholars can receive up to $5,000 toward study-abroad or internship expenses. Preferences are given to students who are studying critical languages, have never studied abroad before, choose unconventional locations and are first-generation college students.

Paige Brake, Director of Education Abroad, International Affairs.
Paige Brake

“Receiving the Gilman scholarship isn’t just about funding a study abroad program; it’s about unlocking doors to global experiences and transforming lives,” said Paige Brake, director, MTSU Office of Education Abroad. “It’s a beacon of opportunity, empowering students to immerse themselves in cultures, broaden their perspectives, and shape a brighter, more interconnected world.

Victoria Grigsby, 2024 Gilman Scholarship recipient
Victoria Grigsby

“We take immense pride in the achievements of our MTSU Gilman scholars and eagerly anticipate the enriching stories they will share upon their return.”

“I am extremely grateful to receive a Gilman scholarship, and I look forward to studying German abroad this summer,” said scholarship recipient Victoria Grigsby.

Solyana Asefa, 2024 Gilman Scholarship recipient
Solyana Asefa
Mairiam Ibrahim, 2024 Gilman Scholarship
Mairiam Ibrahim

Biochemistry major Solyana Asefa, of Smyrna; data science major Jessica Stites, of Murfreesboro; and psychology major Mairiam Ibrahim, of LaVergne, will all be headed to Germany, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Belgium.

Other 2024 Gilman recipients, their majors, and the countries in which they will study are:

Bryce Tall-LaRue, 2024 Gilman Scholarship
Bryce Tall-LaRue
John Farris, 2024 Gilman Scholarship
John Farris

Bryce Tall-LaRue, of Louisville, Kentucky: audio production major, Senegal.

• Honors student Grigsby, of Taft: political science and foreign language double major, Germany.

• Honors student and Army veteran John Farris, of Columbia: aerospace major, New Zealand.

Grace Sandidge, 2024 Gilman Scholarship
Grace Sandidge
Aya Sharif, 2024 Gilman Scholar
Aya Sharif

Grace Sandidge, of White House: geosciences major, Switzerland.

Aya Sharif, of Nashville: speech language pathology and audiology major, Spain.

“Life will never be measured by time, but by the moments created within,” said Sharif.
For more information, contact the MTSU Office of Education Abroad at 615-898-5179,, or undergraduate fellowship advisor Laura Clippard at

— Robin E. Lee (