A Gilman Alumna Becomes an Advocate for Study Abroad

U.S. study abroad does not reflect the diversity of the United States population. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and managed by IIE and , is working to change that by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints.

Tiara Willis is one of many outstanding students whose experiences studying abroad with funding from the Gilman Program have energized them to become global citizens and ambassadors for study abroad. She was the first person in her family to attend college, starting in community college and moving into an International Business major at Albright College. After developing an interest in Middle Eastern culture, she studied abroad in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2014 as a Gilman Scholar. 

Tiara returned to Albright with fervor to spread awareness of study abroad to undergraduate students from diverse student populations. She promoted study abroad at student orientations and on the college radio station, and became an official ambassador for Albright’s study abroad office. During her campus outreach, Tiara became a study abroad advocate and won the U.S. Department of State’s International Exchange Alumni “Citizen Diplomacy Challenge” contest.

Tiara has recently assisted with refugee resettlement through an internship with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and has traveled to Kenya to work in HIV centers.  In 2016 she will begin serving in Nicaragua through the Peace Corps. It is clear that Tiara’s commitment to international exchange advocacy and making the world a better place is only the beginning of her bright future. Just as Tiara is thankful for the competitive edge her Gilman experience provided her, IIE is grateful to have Tiara as a shining example of the achievements that can come from study abroad.