A member of Georgetown University’s faculty will serve as one of the first advisors for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Program.
The U.S. Department of State facilitates study abroad endeavors through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program in the Institute of International Education, providing financially constrained students with opportunities to learn and intern globally. Brian Floyd, assistant dean in the School of Nursing and Health Studies (NHS), will encourage underrepresented groups to study abroad in his two-year term as advisor.
Study abroad is an opportunity for students to be exposed to diverse cultures and new experiences, according to Floyd, who hopes to expand study abroad opportunities in his new capacity as a Benjamin A. Gilman International Program Advisor.
“Through study abroad, students are often surprised to find that they become more confident in how they present themselves in a variety of situations,” Floyd wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Not only do they learn about new cultures and obtain a more global perspective, they also get new and fresh insights into their own identity and sense of self, a more confident and purposeful self.”
The ultimate goal of advisors in the Gilman International Scholarship Program is to increase resources and support for students interested in studying abroad, according to Floyd.
“I am excited to now take on this new role where I will have the opportunity to work directly with various leaders at the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, The Gilman Scholarship program, International Education Abroad and other higher education institutions to design and share best practices for providing and expanding not only scholarship opportunities for those underrepresented in the study abroad space but to design new, collaborative partnerships,” Floyd wrote.
Floyd also co-teaches a first-year course for low-income and first generation first-year students called Mastering the Hidden Curriculum, which provides a support system for students and presents them with information about available resources to pursue global scholarship.
Georgetown students interested in studying abroad and becoming involved in an increasingly globalized world will benefit from Floyd’s expertise, according to Craig Rinker, director of Global Education at Georgetown.
“Brian’s contributions have been invaluable in serving the students of Georgetown University,” Rinker wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I am confident he will be a great asset in promoting international education and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program as a means to expand global opportunities for students.”
Floyd’s experience in the NHS will help attract students from different academic disciplines to the idea of studying abroad, according to Theresa Gagnon, Gilman Program Officer at USA Study Abroad.
“Dean Floyd demonstrates that Gilman has institutional champions on every corner of higher education campuses,” Gagnon wrote in an email to The Hoya. “His position at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies makes him uniquely suited to help the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program support students from health and STEM majors to understand that education abroad can fit into their academic plans despite the intense demands of their schedules.”
The university was fourth in the nation among the number of Gilman Scholars sent from medium-sized institutions since the program’s inception in 2001, with 57% of Georgetown students studying abroad.
Despite the success of the Gilman International Scholarship Program, barriers to global education continue to persist, and it is crucial that advisors provide a network to support underrepresented students in their pursuit of global studies, according to Floyd.
“In my experience as an advisor to underrepresented students pursuing this opportunity, it is also important that advisors must first know themselves and their comfort level addressing student diversity issues such as race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, religious background, and then work to increase their comfort level in order to become a resource to all students, as opposed to a liability,” Floyd wrote.
When institutional barriers are so large, advisors like Floyd will provide institutional support in order to encourage underrepresented students, according to Rinker.
“Brian Floyd’s appointment to the Gilman Advisor Ambassador Program is another example of institutional support encouraging students to participate in global experiences that prepare leaders with a profound self-understanding and awareness of the nature of the world, and the role that they must play in improving it,” Rinker wrote.
Through the Gilman International Scholarship Program, students will be able to transform the world, according to Floyd.
“As a result, they may join others in the effort to change the world in a positive way and foster a connected international community, with an emphasis on the values of empathy and a shared humanity, and the belief that every person deserves a transformative international educational experience abroad,” Floyd wrote.