Cassidy AinsworthOctober 20, 2020 (Jackson, Miss.) - The U.S. Department of State has awarded the Gilman-McCain Scholarship to Cassidy Ainsworth, a senior international studies major. The scholarship provides $5,000 for the dependents of military for internships and study abroad.

“Cassidy is a diligent student committed to excellence in her scholastic achievements and very deserving of this prestigious scholarship,” said, Assistant Professor and Chair of International Studies Dr. Kristen White. “From the first day I met her before her freshmen year, she envisioned how to glean the most from Belhaven's International Studies program, which includes the capstone of her study abroad experience in Costa Rica. This journey will likely be the hallmark of her collegiate experience and successfully launch her forward into graduate school to pursue her calling.”

Ainsworth, from Denham Springs, Louisiana, is expected to graduate in May 2021 with a B.A. in International Studies and will use the scholarship for her semester abroad in Costa Rica. Studying abroad is a requirement for international studies majors. “There are many benefits to gain from study abroad: international experience, second language, flexibility, cultural intelligence, and more,” said Ainsworth. “I would love to see more students from an array of fields take the opportunity in college to study in another country and culture. This is also a core view for all Gilman programs, so much so that they require all recipients to promote the accessibility of international internships and study.”

The U.S. Department of State sponsors and oversees the scholarship as part of its effort to expand the number of Americans studying and interning abroad, and is supported by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Ainsworth said that studying abroad gives her experiential learning where she can implement the skills and knowledge gained in the classroom over the past three years. She adds, “It also can launch one into their career and ahead of their peers. As an eventual career, I plan to work cross-culturally with internationals: immigrants, international students, sojourners, and refugees. By living in another country, going through cultural shock, and learning a new language, I will be able to better relate to internationals. Additionally, studying abroad will build my credibility with international students, immigrants, sojourners, andrefugees.”Ainsworth plans to further her education through graduate school and other experiential learning opportunities