Crounse Hall across the lawn

Quartet of students awarded Gilman Scholarship through U.S. Department of State

by Matt Overing

Centre College News

Opportunities for students to lead enriching experiences abroad continue to expand at Centre College.

After one student received a prestigious Gilman Scholarship in 2023, the 2024 contingent highlights the College’s ability to produce top talent for competitive scholarships at the national level. Four students earned funding through the Gilman program: Lindsey Browning and Nick Minton from the class of 2026, Layla Harper, class of 2025, and Brian Leon ’24.

A collaborative effort between staff and faculty boosted students throughout the process.

“Gilman presents a unique opportunity for collaboration amongst programs and offices to ensure all students at Centre, including students who are receiving Federal Pell Grants, have the opportunity to participate in the college’s extensive study abroad programs,” said Robert Schalkoff, Director of the Office of Fellowships. “The Office of Fellowships together with Centre Global and faculty colleagues leading CentreTerm and Summer Term courses worked to promote the Gilman Scholarship and then provided several walk-in sessions where students could get direct feedback on their application essays for the scholarship.”

The Gilman International Scholarship Program, through the U.S. Department of State, lowers barriers for outstanding students who might not typically participate in abroad experiences through scholarships and other forms of support. 

Aside from scholarships, the program paves the way for students to work with an advisor abroad — a huge help for students who might not know the ins and outs of international travel and education.


Nick Minton

Nick Minton

Brownstown, Indiana

German and Anthropology/Sociology major

Class of 2026

New Horizons Scholar Nick Minton opted for German as his language requirement in high school, so it was only natural for him to continue his German courses at Centre.

This year, Minton will be an Atkins Scholar as well — and he’s hoping to execute some of that research while he’s in Germany as a Gilman Scholar.

“Dr. Katrin Bahr helped me through the application process, reviewing my essays,” Minton said. “Dr. Schalkoff told me about Centre Global’s session to learn more about the Gilman Scholarship. Together, they really helped me throughout my application.”

Students additionally engage in a service component of the scholarship — one where Minton hopes to give back to his high school German program.

“I hope to do a vlog for my high school German courses,” he said. “My teacher from high school could use the videos from a former student, and it would be a bit more personable. I can also talk about what it’s like studying the German language at a college level.”

Lindsey Browning

Lindsey Browning

Harlan, Kentucky

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major

Class of 2026

Browning was accepted to the New Zealand study abroad program — Physical Science of Volcanoes — during CentreTerm 2025. Her Gilman Scholarship is what helped pave the way for her to make that course possible.

“It was a vigorous scholarship, lots of essays and a quick turnaround,” Browning said. “But the Centre Global office was incredibly helpful going through the process.”

Like Minton, Browning hopes to return to her hometown to share about her experiences — both at Centre and abroad.

“I’m very passionate about the outdoors and learning more about the physical sciences and volcanoes in New Zealand,” Browning said. “Being from a mountainous region in Eastern Kentucky, it made sense.”

Browning said she wants to go to medical school after graduation — and while a physical sciences course doesn’t directly tie in to med school, she’ll be led by two professors of chemistry, Joe Workman and Jeff Fieberg.

“If you come to Centre, you’re going to study abroad,” Browning said. “Because I’m an athlete, I didn’t want to be away for a semester — I know that would affect me, either pre-season or in season.”

Browning said that her preparation for the Gilman Scholarship was made possible through the engaging liberal arts and sciences education she’s had so far.

“Centre prepares you for everything,” she said. “Even though I’m a STEM major, I’m so knowledgeable about English and the arts — I’ve had to write so many essays. But those other courses allow me to think more creatively and explain feelings in my writing.”

Layla Harper

Layla Harper

Louisville, Kentucky

Behavioral Neuroscience major

Class of 2025

Rising senior Layla Harper learned about the Gilman Scholarship through the Centre Global office, and along with Schalkoff’s help, secured funding for her second study abroad course.

“My first study abroad trip to Ghana was such an amazing opportunity, so having access to funding this time that I can use for course fees allows for different experiences — for things like meals and cultural excursions,” she said.

This time, Harper will study abroad in Tahiti with Christian Wood, associate professor of French and humanities.

Harper’s service component will involve giving back to the Centre Global office — made easier by her experience in the Gilman program.

“I want to inform students of the generosity of the Gilman program and the amount of money that could be awarded, along with the requirements that come with applying,” Harper said. “I plan to give back by either working or volunteering as a peer mentor for potential study abroad students. I can encourage others that are considering studying abroad to apply to programs that meet their interests, as well as those who are not yet aware of or unsure about whether they should apply to Gilman.”

Brian Leon

Boston, Massachusetts

Anthropology/Sociology major

Class of 2024

Leon traveled to Bhutan during CentreTerm 2024 thanks in part to the Gilman Scholarship. The course, “Happiness in the Land of Enlightenment” was led by Grissom Professor of Psychology Jennifer Goetz and Visiting Assistant Professor of International Studies and Anthropology Chelsea Cutright.


Centre students interested in applying to U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program can contact Robert Schalkoff, Director of the Office of Fellowships.

To learn more about study abroad opportunities at Centre, visit Centre Global.