Pellissippi State student awarded prestigious scholarship to study abroad

Young female in portraitPellissippi State Community College student Ciara Sheets is the recipient of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this summer.

Sheets is one of only two community college students in the state to receive the award. She plans to study biology during a summer study abroad program to Ecuador with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies.

“I am thrilled to have won the award. It’s such an honor,” Sheets said.

“I’ll be going to the Galapagos Islands and am taking my Biology II course there, getting to take hikes and visit caves and natural observation points. We’ll take a trip to the observatory where scientists like Charles Darwin and others have studied.”

The Gilman Scholarship offers grants for undergraduates—particularly those who are typically underrepresented in international studies, such as students of limited financial means, community college students and minority students—to pursue academic studies or career-oriented internships abroad. The program is intended to better prepare students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.

“Ciara is participating in our Ecuador program, a four-week course in the Galapagos Islands that focuses on the study of biology and genetics. It’s a unique program that offers field work with an outdoor laboratory,” said Tracey Bradley, executive director of TnCIS.

“Study abroad opportunities are traditionally thought of as arts or humanities related, but we’re very proud to offer one that is strongly science based.”

Sheets plans to graduate from Pellissippi State in May 2015 and then attend the University of Tennessee to pursue pre-veterinary coursework.

TnCIS, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education throughout the state. More than 425 students and 65 faculty from across Tennessee participated in the summer 2013 study abroad programs organized by TnCIS. There are 18 study abroad programs planned for summer 2014.

For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call (865) 539-7280. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.