Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Travel abroad provides an excellent opportunity to consider one's personal identity in a new cultural context. The Diversity Ambassador Scholarship program supports the diversification of students who study abroad by providing awards to students from diverse backgrounds and identities, many of whom are traditionally underrepresented on study abroad programs.

Up to ten $1,000 Diversity Ambassador Scholarships are awarded for the spring and fall semesters/academic year, and another ten scholarships are awarded for summer and winter sessions.

Meet the 2022 summer recipients:


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Abby Fowler, a third-year international studies (on a business track) and Japanese studies major from North Liberty, Iowa, is studying this summer on the CIEE Summer in Copenhagen program.  

“The more I looked into Copenhagen as an option, the stronger my desire to live and study there grew. The mix of charming architecture with modern infrastructure drew me in, especially with all of the museums and the historical landmarks being a train ride away. I imagined myself being motivated to explore the city, learning the quirks of Danish culture, and being outside in the public green spaces. The coursework itself also fits perfectly into my international business track.”

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Sam LaMantia, a fourth-year human physiology major from Chicago, Illinois, is studying in Spain this summer on the faculty-led Iowa Hispanic Institute program.

“Being fluent in Spanish is important to me as a future healthcare provider so I can give quality care to as many people as possible. Studying abroad will give me the proficiency in Spanish to make that possible. That is one reason I chose this particular program. It is not in a major city, so fewer people speak English. We will be staying with a local family, and it has some classes that focus on speaking the language.”


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Ekaterina Lopez, a fourth-year enterprise leadership major (minor in psychology and certificate in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy) from Chicago, Illinois, is studying abroad this summer on the faculty-led Origins of Humanistic Counseling in Greece program.

“I am excited to explore Greece while connecting more to its rich history, culture, and amazing food. I am excited to be immersed in the Greek language and hopefully improve my speaking ability. I was surprised by how many resources were available, which allowed me to be able to afford the program and feel confident about being supported while abroad.”


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Shannon McNeal, a fourth-year Spanish and Chinese major (minors in Arabic and linguistics) from Davenport, Iowa, is studying in Spain this summer on the faculty-led Iowa Hispanic Institute program.

“I picked my specific program to improve my Spanish speaking skills and to experience the culture firsthand and outside of classroom textbooks. Studying abroad is important to me because I cannot fully understand the languages I learn without experiencing them in the environment they are used in.”


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Julia Nightser, a third-year enterprise leadership major (minor in Spanish), from Council Bluffs, Iowa, is studying in Spain this summer on the faculty-led Iowa Hispanic Institute program.

“I chose this program because I wanted to continue my Spanish education, but also because after meeting Professor Ana Rodriguez-Rodriguez, I couldn’t say no. She is a wonderful person and I am eager to be abroad with her. Studying abroad is important to me because I have always dreamt of it, but never thought it could be possible for me. Also, because I love traveling, and being able to obtain an education while doing so excites me the most. 


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Dean Omar, a second-year human physiology major from Ames, Iowa, is participating in an internship this summer on the SIT Counseling and Humanitarian Action in Jordan program.

"I was surprised to see how many programs we had at the University of Iowa that helped make summer internships possible, such as the Diversity Ambassador program. I was also surprised to see so many students planning to study abroad. I am really looking forward to experiencing Eid, a major Muslim holiday, in Jordan. I think there is enormous value to traveling and experiencing new cultures, especially if it feels like a big step from what you're used to.


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Sushma Santhana, a second-year biomedical engineering major from North Liberty, Iowa, is studying this summer on the CIMBA Italy program.  

Doing a summer program allowed me to still get the study abroad experience I knew I wanted without taking time out of my semesters where I needed more specific classes. CIMBA's summer program was the perfect length and gives us the freedom to travel every weekend, which I knew I wanted. I’m most looking forward to trying all of the amazing food!”


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Maya Torrez, a third-year English and creative writing major from Walworth, Wisconsin, is studying this summer on the faculty-led Ancient Perspectives, Modern Eyes in Greece program.

"I’m most looking forward to eating delicious olives, visiting the Parthenon, and gaining all manner of new cultural experiences! After the pandemic, I wanted to make sure I was taking advantage of all the opportunities afforded to me by the university. Studying abroad is important to me because I'm going to earn honors credit and travel to a country I've always wanted to visit!"


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Michaela Zimmer, a fourth-year public health major from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, is interning this summer in Kisumu, Kenya, on the SIT Public Health in the Tropics Internship.

“I picked my program because my goal is to work in infectious disease prevention after I finish school. This program gives me hands-on access to work with diseases that would be difficult to get experience with in Iowa. I am also interested in learning about African cultures and exploring different African countries. I was most surprised by how quick the process was. I felt like one moment I was applying, and immediately after, I was ready to set off to Kenya! I have always wanted to travel and understand different perspectives, and studying abroad allows me to grow professionally and personally.”

 learn more about study abroad's diversity ambassador scholarship