Community college students receive scholarships to study abroad

MESA, Arizona -- June 6, 2024 --Eight Mesa Community College students have been awarded scholarships totaling $25,500 to study abroad by the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program at MCC in summer 2024.

The program enables American undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding to study and intern abroad through scholarships of up to $5,000. Students studying critical need languages are eligible for scholarships up to $8,000.

This year’s MCC Gilman scholars will participate in short term, faculty-led programs in Italy, Japan and France.

Studying art history and cultural communication in Florence, Italy are: Asia Benally (Laveen) who is also a South Mountain Community College student and received a $3,000 award; Erideily Garcia Cheriz (Phoenix), who also attends Phoenix College and received a $3,000 award; Michaela Love (Avondale), who also attends Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) and received a $2,500 award; Pearl Willis (Glendale), who also attends Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) and received a $3,000 award; and Stephanie Marquez (Mesa) received a $3,000 award.

Temya Jackson Long (Phoenix), who also attends GateWay Community College and received a $6,000 award is studying the Japanese language and conducting a psychological analysis of the traditional and current Japanese pop cultures in Fukuoka, Japan.

Studying the history, language, culture, and marine habits in and around Nice, France are: Karson Mock (Gilbert), who also attends CGCC and received a $2,500 award; and Alicia Salazar (Mesa), who also attends CGCC and received a $2,500 award.

“This is a very significant achievement for these students and for MCC, said Yvonne Schmidt, program analyst for the MCC Study Abroad program. She explained that students were required to undergo an intensive application process that included writing a statement of purpose and building mutual understanding essays as well as creating a Follow-on Service Project noting how they will increase awareness of study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship among their peers. “All these students have grown so much just by experiencing the entire process,” Schmidt added, especially Gilman scholar Stephanie Marquez, who is employed as a federal work study student worker in MCC’s Office of Community and Civic Engagement through TRIO, a federal outreach and student services program that identifies and provides services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

According to the U.S. Department of State, Gilman scholars are more successful in their academic and professional lives as a result of their experiences abroad by increasing their professional and academic skills and serving as citizen ambassadors representing U.S. culture in over 160 countries around the world.

Schmidt said that because of the growing success of the Gilman Scholarship program at MCC, the college was named (in November 2023) a Gilman Scholarship Top Producer by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for awarding the most Gilman recipients for the 2021-2022 academic year in the two-year institutions category.

MCC study abroad opportunities are open to community members 18 years of age and above. More information is available on the Benjamin A.Gilman International Scholarships and MCC Study Abroad program websites.

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Media contact: Julie Ruiz, or 480-461-7283

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 25,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations through a combination of modalities. MCC is transforming how it champions student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution with nearly 50% of its students being the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges; its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes as well as out-of-state tribes. The diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

MCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC),

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 5, 2024