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Grueneich selected for Gilman Program award 

Mar 20, 2023

Psychology student Isabel Grueneich ’23, was recently selected to receive the Gilman Program award. Grueneich is one of 452 undergraduate students to receive this prestigious scholarship in the United States.

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program has increased U.S. participation in study abroad, while emphasizing countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study. 

Grueneich learned about the scholarship from professor, Dr. Kiersten Baughman. Grueneich knew she fit the requirements and had faith that she could write the four essays required to earn the scholarship. With little sleep and much determination, she felt her hard work would pay off for a chance at the scholarship that could support her study abroad trip.Isabel Grueneich

This summer, Grueneich and a group of VCSU students will spend nine days in Argentina from May 18 to May 26, 2023. The focus of the trip, organized in conjunction with Arcos Learning Abroad, is to make cross-cultural comparisons among resources serving domestic violence victims. The trip includes interactions related to the topic and a variety of cultural experiences. 

In first grade Grueneich was diagnosed with ADHD and by 7th grade she decided to forego her medication. “Not being on medication affected me more than I thought at the time. ADHD is both a superpower and a disorder that brings limitations,” said Grueneich. College helped her learn how to utilize her superpowers.  

Past academic records were always in the back of her mind, proving a difficult barrier to overcome. “I came from a small town where I graduated with 17 other students. I believe I graduated 11th out of 18 students, academically speaking. I stayed average or slightly below throughout my high school career due to a few factors,” she said. However she later realized school was more about realizing her own potential.  

“Winning this award is something that helps me do that and value the journey to get here,” said Grueneich. “This award means a great deal to me. The first thing that came to my mind as I received the email that I was selected was my educational history. My high school and even freshman year of college self wouldn’t believe what I’ve accomplished, and I’m not sure I’ve fully comprehended it either.” 

Several individuals, including Dr. Kiersten Baughman and Lee Kruger, associate professor for language and literature, were involved in helping her read, review and discuss the essays. Grueneich credits them in her success and hopes she can one day extend her gratitude.  

The excitement continues to build as the trip draws near.  

“Being able to gain the experiences of traveling to the domestic violence shelters, see different cultures and appreciate the world we live in without having to worry about the finances of it is something that I value beyond the ability to express with words,” Grueneich said.