MEDIA: April Seehafer, Director, Distinguished Scholarships Program in WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-8239, seehafer@wsu.edu

Sharon Ericsson, Co-Director, First-Generation Abroad, 509-335-6000, ericssons@wsu.edu

Emma Epperly, Communications and Marketing Assistant, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-9458, emmaepperly@wsu.edu

PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University student Loundyne “L.D.” Hare received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for summer 2017 to study abroad in Spain.

“I’ve barely been outside of Washington so I’m excited to learn about the cultural practices and ways of life in Spain,” said Hare. “I hope to improve my Spanish language skills. And, I think I’ll learn a lot about myself through this experience.

“I’d say that not a lot of African-American students go abroad, so for me, it’s a liberating thing. I can come back and be a role model by showing others that the opportunity to study abroad largely encompasses self-growth.’”

Hare, a junior from Tacoma native, is majoring in comparative ethnic studies and business entrepreneurship with a minor in popular culture. He serves as a mentor in the Office of Multicultural Student Services, is a College Success Foundation Scholar, and was the fall 2016 WSU Black Student Union president. He plans to earn a Ph.D. in cultural studies and own a business, possibly a youth-development business that serves the disenfranchised, Hare said.

First-Generation Abroad students, such as L.D., travel and take classes together. The faculty-led program provides academic, cultural, and service experiences, plus personal- and professional-development opportunities to students whose parents did not complete college, such as Hare. On this summer’s one-month adventure in Seville, in southern Spain, 24 students will each earn six college credits, explore the city and its surroundings, and take a short trip across the Straits of Gibraltar to explore Morocco in northern Africa.

“First-generation students are largely absent from study-abroad programs, so First-Generation Abroad is a chance to take advantage of all that study abroad has to offer,” said Sharon Ericsson, Hare’s advisor, program co-director, and also assistant director of the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC), part of WSU Undergraduate Education. “The professional development and global engagement skills they will gain can have a direct, positive impact on their grades, graduation rates, and employability.”

April Seehafer, director of the WSU Distinguished Scholarships Program, said that Gilman awards are funded through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Dept. of State. The scholarships aim to help students who might not be able to participate in a study-abroad experience due to financial constraints; applicants must be recipients of Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university.

Hare is the first WSU student to receive a Gilman for summer 2017, and is the 47th Cougar since 2006 to receive this scholarship.