Alcorn students win the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, spend semester in Morocco and Botswana

Alcorn students win the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, spend semester in Morocco and Botswana 

Two Alcorn State University students have just returned from spending their fall semesters abroad after receiving grants from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. Rica Mitchell, a sophomore majoring in sociology, studied at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. Deshion Madlock, a junior majoring in biology/pre-med was in Gaborone at the University of Botswana.

“I was proud and honored to have been chosen as a recipient after going through the competitive selection process, and it makes me feel good to know that my hard work had paid off,” said a Missouri native Deshion Madlock.”I took courses in biology and genetics while in Botswana. I also fully immersed myself in learning Swahili, and got an understanding of the customs and culture of the Bantu and Batswana tribes.” 

Rica Mitchell, originally from Chicago, Illinois, said, “I am thankful to Alcorn for exposing me to this incredible opportunity and appreciate the Gilman program for the generous support and contribution of my educational endeavors.”

Along with receiving the Gilman Scholarship, Rica Mitchell also received funding from the Institute for International Public Policy. “The Gilman helped me pay for my school expenses such as tuition and the plane ticket, while the IIPP scholarship paid for my housing in Morocco, my books and other expenses associated with travel.”

Now that Mitchell and Madlock returned from their study abroad experience, they plan to hold several workshops at Alcorn in accordance to the stipulations for the scholarship that require all recipients of the Gilman scholarship to carry out a follow-on project that promotes international education and the Gilman Scholarship Program.

Deshion Madlock shared, “During the workshops, I plan to introduce Alcorn students to a world beyond their comfort zone,  make them  aware of the many opportunities that exist and recount my experience abroad to them, in the hope  that they could envision a rewarding, beneficial and educational experience abroad.’’

The  Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship congressionally funded through the International Academic Opportunity Act, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. department of State, is one the nation’s most competitive and prestigious programs, offering grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad, with the intent to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world. The program aims to support a diverse range of students, who have been traditionally under-represented in study abroad.

For more information on the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and help with finding sources for studying abroad, contact a representative in the Global Programs Office at 601-877-6530. You can also visit

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Deshion Madlock.

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Rica Mitchell.