Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Monica Ernberger in Rome, Italy

Monica Ernberger in Rome, Italy

Monica Ernberger, senior study abroad advisor and program coordinator at the University of Iowa, has been selected by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to serve as an inaugural Gilman Advisor Ambassador. Over the next two years, she will serve as a voice for higher education to inform and advise colleagues at diverse U.S. colleges and universities about the Benjamin A. Gilman Program International Scholarship Program.  They will share their expertise and best practices for promoting the Gilman Program and guiding students in the application process, as well as provide input to program administrators on program policies and implementation.  

“It is an honor to have been chosen as part of the inaugural cohort of Gilman Advisor Ambassadors,” says Ernberger. “My focus for the Gilman program will be on international internships, both abroad and virtual. The goal is to increase the awareness, at colleges and universities around the country, of the tie between this amazing scholarship program and international internships, highlighting internship programming as an aid in their efforts in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Since 2001, the Gilman Program has awarded more than 34,000 scholarships to American undergraduate students of limited financial means from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories.  Gilman Scholars reflect the rich diversity of our country, and have engaged with their peers, communities, and host campuses in over 155 countries.  Almost 70% of Gilman Scholars self-identify as racial or ethnic minorities, nearly 50% as first-generation college students, and almost 60% come from rural communities and small towns across the United States.  Over 6,000 Campus Gilman Advisors play a key role in connecting American students with this scholarship opportunity.   

The University of Iowa offers a wealth of support for students applying for a Gilman Scholarship, including several members of the Study Abroad unit of International Programs—namely Teresa Kout, participant services coordinator, and a team of study abroad advisors. Learn more about the Gilman Scholarship here.
As part of the new initiative, 20 Gilman Advisor Ambassadors, who represent diverse institutions in 18 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, were selected from a strong pool of applicants.  The inaugural cohort is made up of professionals from study abroad offices, financial services, honors colleges and other student services positions, who will receive training from the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Gilman Program staff.  Through the new Gilman Advisor Ambassadors program, this cohort of experienced Gilman Advisors will work together to offer higher education perspectives on the Gilman Program, mentor new Gilman Advisors, and participate in national-level outreach efforts through participation in conferences and campus engagement, among other activities.   
As the recent Department of State and Department of Education Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education noted, “All Americans need to be equipped with global and cultural competencies to navigate the ever-changing landscapes of education, international business, scientific discovery and innovation, and the global economy.”  The new Gilman Advisor Ambassadors program will support Gilman Advisors to help connect American students with international exchange opportunities as outlined in the joint statement.   
The Gilman Program is a program of by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) with funding provided by the U.S. government and supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education (IIE).   
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States. ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.  Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges.  For more information about ECA programs, initiatives, and achievements, visit   
Established in 1919, IIE is a global not-for-profit that creates and implements international education programs, conducts research, and provides life-changing opportunities for students and scholars worldwide. IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training and leadership development programs. IIE has a network of 17 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,450 member institutions. Visit  

Logos of Gilman Scholarship, U.S. Department of State, and USA Study Abroad