Education notebook: Berea College students named winners of the Gilman program | New

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program named 21 Berea College students as 2022 recipients. This record number of students received more than $92,000 in funding to study abroad under of the Gilman program.

Nearly 3,000 U.S. undergraduate students have received Gilman Program awards as of the March 2022 application deadline.

Beneficiaries of Berea College, along with their location and study semester abroad, are:

• Michael Allen – Denmark and Iceland (summer)

• Ema-Leigh Forbes – Costa Rica (summer)

• Treasure Glover – Salamanca, Spain (autumn)

• Sophia Gueye – Italy (Summer)

• Kaylee Jorgensen – Salamanca, Spain (Fall)

• Seyram Komanyor – Ghana (summer)

• Matthew McCandless – South Korea (Fall)

• Ania McDougal – Ecuador (summer)

• Zoe Medeiros – Greece (summer)

• Molly Miller-Garrison – Costa Rica (summer)

• Trayvion Newton – Ghana (summer)

• Thomas Ogburn – Chiang Mai, Thailand (autumn)

• Victor Penaloza – Costa Rica (summer)

• Alejandro Ramos – Argentina (summer)

• Heather Rapien – Greece (summer)

• Bella Ray – Greece (summer)

• Jared Sipple – Chiang Mai, Thailand (summer)

• Hue Tran – Santiago, Chile (autumn)

• Callista Tyson – Ecuador (summer)

• Noah Vargas – Costa Rica (summer)

• Autumn Young – Germany and Poland (summer)

Recipients of this prestigious scholarship are U.S. undergraduate students attending 536 U.S. colleges and representing 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These Gilman Scholars will study or intern in 91 countries through April 2023. This group includes 20 recipients of the John McCain International Scholarship for Children of Military Families (Gilman-McCain Scholarship), as well as government-supported Gilman Scholars French, Israel, New Zealand, Wales, the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD) in Portugal, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The full list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman scholarships this cycle, including home states, colleges or universities, and student host countries, is available at

EKU students serve the Hispanic community

Walking into the Centro de San Juan Diego, a large white building inspired by the Spanish Mission located one block from Versailles Road in Lexington, one might not remember as they prepare for a medical exam, a counseling session or a GED test preparation seminar.

The entry doors are made from wood harvested from the Calumet farm, the wall paint is a warm and inviting earth tone, the furnishings are comfortable, and the wall decor is meaningful. The interior looks so welcoming that it seems like you are walking into someone’s house. In fact, the majority of the decor is from someone’s home – Jim and Dot Bennett’s home in Richmond.

“My wife did all the decor,” Bennett said. “We want you to feel like you’re entering someone’s house, so we salvaged items from our own home. We didn’t want you to feel like you’re entering a sterile clinic.

Centro de San Juan Diego is the culmination of a lifelong ministry for the Bennetts, who worked and lived in South America and came to love the people and their culture and wanted to be a positive influence in the community. When they moved to Richmond and began serving in that area, they discovered that there were 10,000 Hispanic immigrants living within a 20 minute walk of where they decided to build El Centro.

“We’re just trying to help people,” Bennett said. “My wife found this quote from Proverbs that basically says, ‘those in need should not be turned away if you have the resources to do so.’ It’s not a guilt trip, but there it is.

Considering his winnings “God’s money,” Bennett said he and his wife decided to build El Centro themselves because he knew of the many practical needs of this underserved population. He hopes to provide medical, legal, educational, mental health and religious services without asking for anything in return.

When Bennett began considering partnerships to help the ministry in El Centro grow, he knew Eastern Kentucky University would be the perfect fit.

“We don’t have a better relationship with anyone,” Bennett said of EKU and Dr. Theresa Botts. Two doctoral students from the Clinical Psy.D. program, Yadira Diaz Romero and Vanessa Leon, have begun counseling clients who come to the center and will begin offering individual counseling services twice a week this fall.

“I will provide psychological assessments and series of individual, family and group therapy to children, adolescents and adults in El Centro, bringing our services there,” Diaz Romero said. “I entered the Psy.D. program wanting to work with the Latinx community. As someone who speaks Spanish, it became clear to me that few therapists have the ability to speak another language and I wanted to offer this service to everyone I could.

Diaz Romero and her classmates have also started presenting workshops on various mental health topics. They will continue the workshop series when classes resume for the fall 2022 semester.

“Topics range from de-stigmatizing mental health to parenting skills,” she said.

She is grateful to be part of the partnership.

“Through this collaboration with El Centro, I have the opportunity to gain valuable experience for my future career and connect with the local Latinx community, while helping to build a relationship for our program that hopefully , will continue for many years to come.”

Bennett said he was pleased that EKU engaged these students and others to gain their clinical experience at El Centro.

“These people are poor,” he said. “We estimate that we donate over $1 million in services. We’re just trying to take care of those people so they don’t fall through the cracks.

To learn more about Centro de San Juan Diego, visit

To learn more about EKU’s psychology program, visit