Two CSB students receive $5,000 scholarships for study abroad

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May 3, 2018

Cathy Nguyen

Cathy Nguyen

Keandra Stokes

Keandra Stokes 

Two students from the College of Saint Benedict accomplished something that no one else from CSB or Saint John’s University has ever done.

Cathy Nguyen and Keandra Stokes each received $5,000 scholarships from the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA), which grants scholarships for study abroad. Nguyen received the Minnesota Scholarship, which is awarded to a student attending a school located in Minnesota.

Nguyen, a sophomore art and communication double-major from Fredericksburg, Virginia, will participate in the London study abroad program during fall semester 2018. Her top three study abroad goals are “to gain a global perspective, make professional connections through my internship and to explore London’s culture.”

Stokes, a junior sociology major from St. Paul, Minnesota, will participate in the Greco-Roman study abroad program during fall semester 2018. She said her top three study abroad goals are “getting out of my shell, making new friends and doing and seeing everything.”

 “Students have applied (for this award in the past), but this is the first time CSB and SJU students have received the award,” said Joy Ruis, assistant director of semester education abroad at the Center for Global Education at CSB and SJU.

Stokes and Nguyen overcame some long odds to earn the scholarship.

There were over 2,300 applicants representing approximately 515 colleges and universities across the nation who applied for the scholarships, with the FEA awarding a record-breaking 100 scholarships totaling $335,000.

Each student had to fill out an application, complete an essay and submit a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or adviser. A team of 138 volunteers individually read and reviewed each application. Volunteers also individually interviewed Nguyen and Stokes by phone and Skype.

The mission of FEA is to provide scholarships and ongoing support to students who are underrepresented among the U.S. study abroad population.

The students come from a variety of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. This year, 93 percent of the students receiving the scholarships are of minority backgrounds, and 91 percent are first-generation college students – groups that have consistently been underrepresented in study abroad.

Since its inception in 2010, FEA has funded 268 scholarships totaling $1.3 million.

Five students representing four Minnesota colleges and universities (CSB, Macalester College, Bethel University and the University of Minnesota) were among the 100 selected to receive scholarships.