January 18, 2012 — Two New College of Florida students have been awarded Gilman Scholarships sponsored by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Sandra Werb, of Stuart, Fla., will study in London, and Mariana Zapata, of Miami, Fla., will study outside Paris in Creteil, France, during the spring semester.

Werb is a third-year humanities major at New College of Florida focusing on literature, film and history. She was raised by a single mother, who drove about one and a half hours every day for four years so that Werb could attend an arts magnet high school. As a resident assistant at New College last year, Werb helped establish a support system for first-year students. She has volunteered the past two summers at an organic farm in Punta Gorda and hopes to continue that service in Ireland after her London semester.

Zapata is a third-year sociology major at New College of Florida. One of five children raised by a single mother, Zapata was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, until her family moved to Miami when she was 10. At New College, Zapata has been a mentor with the Girl Scouts, raised funds for Relay for Life and built homes for Habitat for Humanity. During last year’s spring break, she traveled with a group of eight New College students to Atlanta, Ga., volunteering for Books for Africa, the Global Soap Project and Meals on Wheels. She is also training to become a domestic violence advocate.

“Upon graduating from New College, I hope to continue my engagement in community service by joining an international service organization, such as the Peace Corps,” says Zapata, who hopes to be assigned to a francophone country in Africa.

Thirteen New College students have been awarded the Gilman Scholarship since 2004. Third-year student Lorna Hadlock is currently on a year-long Gilman Scholarship to study the indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon. Hadlock is an anthropology/area studies major from Sarasota, Fla.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program was created in 2000 to provide scholarships for study abroad to U.S. undergraduates with financial need, including students from diverse backgrounds and students going to non-traditional study abroad destinations. The federally funded program is administered by the Institute of International Education. For more information on the Gilman Scholarship program, visit exchanges.state.gov/globalexchanges/gilman-scholarship-program.html.

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