MISSOULA – Ruesha Hendricks, a senior premedical student at the University of Montana, recently was awarded the U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the Institute of International Education.
During the 2013-14 academic year application cycle, the Gilman Scholarship Program reviewed nearly 2,800 applications for more than 800 awards. Hendricks is the only award recipient from Montana.
On May 28, Hendricks learned that she will receive a $5,000 award to intern in India with the Center of Social Medicine. Her internship was set up through UM’s IE3 Global Internship program, which provides opportunities for students to grow personally, professionally and cross-culturally.
When asked her reaction to receiving the news, she said, “I didn't really have time to digest it in the moment, but later I called my mom and we cried happy tears together.
“I had already sold my car to help pay for the trip and anticipated having to live in a box or couch surf when I returned, but those were sacrifices I was willing to make for the experience,” she said. “The Gilman Scholarship Program is taking a huge amount of stress off my shoulders, ensuring I will be able to eat when I return for my last semester at UM.”
Hendricks will depart for India in the fall. The Center for Social Medicine is based in a university adjacent to a hospital that provides innovative rural health services to a wide range of beneficiaries.
She will study the challenges faced in rural India from a systemic and clinical view and is invited to tailor the internship to meet her area of study and interest. Hendricks will have the opportunity to shadow doctors or nurses in the hospital, tour mobile and e-clinics, engage in trainings for women's empowerment initiatives, HIV/AIDS prevention programs and study health in tribal communities.
“I’m excited for this opportunity, because it encompasses a greater variety of experiences than many internships of its kind,” Hendricks said.
This summer she is interning at the University of Idaho in an evolutionary psychology virtual reality research lab – just one of many diverse extracurricular actives she has pursued in preparation for a career as a physician in rural and global health.
“During each experience I learned a new set of technical skills and expanded upon other skills, such as patience and communication,” she said.
The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.
Hendricks grew up in Missoula. For more information about IE3 Global Internship program call Kevin Hood, program coordinator for UM’s Internship Services Administration, at 406-243-4613 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.