Gilman International Scholars study abroad with MCC

Terry Deese MESA, Arizona – May 28, 2019 – The Gilman Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, awards four Mesa Community College students to participate in MCC study abroad programs.

Terry Deese (Mesa), recipient of a $2,500 scholarship, will learn about tropical biology and photography in the Costa Rica study abroad program.

Desiree FortierDesiree Fortier (Phoenix), who is also a Glendale Community College student, received a $2,000 scholarship. She will study religion in Ireland and Irish storytelling.

Caitlin Gerwig (Tempe) and Varinia Varela (Gilbert) each received a $3,500 scholarship. They will learn about business, economics and entrepreneurialism while in Japan, the fifth largest economy in the world.

Caitlin Gerwig “These awards provide students with the opportunity to have life-changing international experiences,” said Yvonne Schmidt, Mesa Community College study abroad coordinator. “The Gilman Scholarship gives our students an opportunity to have an enriching cultural experience as well as a chance to develop worldview critical thinking skills for the global workforce.”

Learn more about the MCC Study Abroad program, offering short-term, faculty-led classes abroad at Programs, courses and cultural excursions vary from year to year. Information sessions about 2020 study abroad programs will begin in Fall 2019.

Varinia VarelaThe Gilman Scholarship Program is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at two-year or four-year colleges or universities to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide.

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Media Contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to build relations between the people of the United States and thepeople of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States. ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges. For more information about ECA programs, initiatives, and achievements, visit

TheInstitute of International Education ( works with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, and over 1,300 member institutions.

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. The college serves as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs online, at its two campuses, the Mesa Downtown Center and additional locations. Through the implementation of Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services, MCC is transforming ways it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment for all students. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution. The diverse student body includes more than 400 international students representing over 60 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training to empower MCC students to compete locally and globally. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, MCC is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Learn more at

Mesa Community College 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: 
Tuesday, May 28, 2019