Campus Life

UWF student receives government-sponsored study abroad scholarship

A University of West Florida student was recently selected as the recipient of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which awards up to $5,000 to fund a study abroad experience. As a result of the award, Denisha Merriweather, a senior interdisciplinary social sciences major, will complete an internship in the Dominican Republic during the Summer 2014 semester.

“The opportunity to study abroad will give me a different outlook and goal in the field of social work,” Merriweather said. “I will be able to learn about a different culture and how the people in the Dominican Republic respond differently to various situations affecting children and families, enabling me to better understand how I would like to assist children and families across the world in my career.”

Merriweather will be working with Ama a tu Projimo, a faith-based orphanage in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, that is dedicated to the social integration of youth living on the streets. During her internship, Merriweather will be assisting students with homework, providing daily care and mentor services, facilitating outdoor and recreational activities, leading after school programs and more.

“This scholarship award is huge,” said Dr. Angela McCorvey, associate vice president for  Diversity and International Education and Programs. “Denisha is the only UWF student who received this prestigious honor. To compete against thousands of other outstanding college students and be selected to receive funding is a wonderful testament to her excellent academic record here at UWF. Denisha worked in the International Center and the department and the international students we serve love her. She will be a boundless ambassador for UWF.”

The scholarship, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education, is awarded to approximately 1,100 undergraduate students from 358 colleges and universities across the U.S. each year. The program aims to diversify students who study abroad, as well as the countries and regions they visit. The scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies, making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

For additional information about study abroad opportunities available to UWF students, visit