University of Iowa

Naomi Gunderson Scholarship for Foreign Language Study Abroad


Naomi Gunderson earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1916 and her master’s degree in 1919. She went on to teach Latin, Spanish and English in Iowa and California high schools. Upon her death at age 92, Naomi Gunderson left a bequest to the University of Iowa to provide scholarships to students who wish to spend at least a semester in the country whose language they are studying. This award is a fitting tribute to a remarkable teacher who, in order to prepare herself for teaching Spanish, made several trips to Mexico to study.

This Naomi Gunderson scholarship is specifically designed for undergraduate students who are committed to developing advanced language proficiency. Up to two (2) scholarships awards, $1,000, may be awarded each semester.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant must:

  • be an undergraduate, full-time, degree-seeking UI student in good academic standing
  • be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident
  • have completed at least one year of language study prior to the application deadline
  • have a minimum 3.33 UI cumulative GPA as reported on your unofficial UI grade report
  • completed a minimum of 24 s.h. by the application deadline
  • propose to study abroad for at least one semester during the academic year
  • clearly demonstrate an intention to develop advanced proficiency in the language of study

Selection procedure and criteria

This is a merit-based, competitive scholarship; applications reviewed by members of the Study Abroad Scholarship Committee. The following criteria are used in recommending awards:

  • academic and personal objectives which are clearly defined and realistic
  • academic achievement and preparation
  • quality and completeness of the essay submissions
  • demonstrated interest in language learning in addition to cultural advancement
  • contribution of the study abroad experience to the student’s overall academic program
  • evidence of maturity, motivation, and adaptability to a different cultural environment

Students may enroll in a formal academic study abroad program sponsored by the University of Iowa or by another accredited U.S. university or exchange organization or may enroll directly in a foreign university. Preference will be given to students who are studying one of the languages taught at the University of Iowa and who propose to study abroad for an academic year at a foreign university.

Application Procedure

Students who meet the eligibility requirements listed above are encouraged to apply for the Naomi Gunderson Scholarship for Foreign Language Study by completing and submitting the scholarship application, two essays (Statement of Proposed Study and Personal Statement - each 750 words or less), an unofficial grade report (from MyUI Student Portal), and two letters of reference (UI faculty/Teaching Assistants).

Submit the complete application packet to the Study Abroad office (1111 University Capitol Centre) by the application deadline.  Incomplete application packets will NOT be accepted.


Submission Deadline

Spring 2020  - Thursday, October 24, 2019*

Fall 2020/Academic Year 2020-21 - TBD

The final deadline listed for the corresponding application submission is 5 p.m.* of the date listed above (close of the business day in the Study Abroad office - 1111 University Capitol Center). No applications will be accepted after this deadline!