LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will host a career readiness workshop for alumni of the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Approximately 55 participants from across the Midwest will learn how to connect their international experience to career skills, hear from industry professionals, and network with presenters and peers at the Gilman Alumni Workshop on Friday, Sept. 21, at the Adams Alumni Center.
The congressionally funded Gilman program broadens the U.S. student population studying and interning abroad by providing scholarships to outstanding undergraduate Pell Grant recipients who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise study abroad. Since the program’s establishment in 2001, over 1,300 U.S. institutions have sent more than 28,000 Gilman scholars to 145 countries around the globe.
“The Gilman Program aims to make study abroad and its career advantages more accessible and inclusive for all American students. We look forward to including the voices of alumni from across Kansas and throughout the region at the workshop,” said Heidi Manley, chief of USA Study Abroad at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs selects universities to host and develop workshops that showcase career development opportunities for Gilman alumni. In part, KU was selected for its success in producing Gilman Scholars, ranking 16th for Gilman Scholars in STEM fields and 23rd overall in the total number of Gilman scholarship recipients in 2016-17. The KU workshop will leverage expertise within the Office of Study Abroad, University Career Center and TRIO Program to offer a tailored professional development and networking experience to previous Gilman Scholarship recipients.
“It is such a privilege to host the career workshop for the Gilman International Scholarship program at KU,” said Charles Bankart, associate vice provost for international programs at KU. “What is particularly striking to me is how convening this wonderful group of program alumni from across the Midwest also brings the best and brightest of our KU community together in the service of international education. Collaboration across the Office of Study Abroad, University Career Center, the TRIO Program and Undergraduate Studies is critically important, and it’s through these partnerships that KU has a profound impact nationally and globally. I am very excited to participate in this program and learn from the Gilman program alumni and our colleagues.“
The workshop will feature several prominent local figures, including Brian McClendon. McClendon held leadership positions with Google and Uber before returning to Kansas as an adjunct professor of the practice in KU's Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. He, along with representatives from Garmin and Cerner, will lead a panel addressing how Gilman alumni can market their experiences to employers and differentiate themselves as job applicants.
DeAngela Burns-Wallace, vice provost for undergraduate studies at KU, will give a talk titled “READINESS: The Power of Your Journey” over lunch. Burns-Wallace was selected for the national Pickering Fellowship during her sophomore year of college. She went on to serve as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State in China, South Africa and Washington, D.C., and was trained in three languages across her career. Burns-Wallace’s talk will focus on how her experiences abroad, her network and preparation helped create a personal and professional path that is rewarding, ever-challenging and impactful.
KU’s national expertise in Fulbright programs and foreign languages will be on display during the afternoon breakout sessions. The “Going Abroad Again” session will feature a discussion of international opportunities facilitated by alumni from the Peace Corps and Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, along with Rachel Sherman Johnson, fellowship director for the Office of International Programs. Under Sherman Johnson’s leadership, five KU students were selected for prestigious Fulbright Awards for research, study or English teaching abroad in 2018. The “Maintaining and Leveraging Language Skills” session will feature KU faculty and staff who have lived and worked abroad, and who can speak to the importance of foreign language skills. KU offers 40 foreign languages, more than any other university in Kansas or in the Big 12 Conference.
The workshop will conclude with a networking reception for participants, presenters, and invited guests.