Kiki Spiezio – Gilman Scholarship
Name: Katrina “Kiki” Spiezio
Class Year: 2017
Hometown: Taunton, MA
Minors or Concentrations: Studio Art, Poverty and Human Capabilities Studies
Opportunity and Year: Gilman Scholarship Program, 2014-15
Project Summary: The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. I used the funds to cover a W&L spring term abroad course in China, studying language and culture for 6 weeks. As long as a minimum four weeks are spent abroad, you are eligible to apply. In addition, you must complete a follow-on service project. My service project is to expand study abroad and scholarship outreach at my former charter school, on the W&L campus, and throughout the national QuestBridge Scholars Network.
How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? If I had not signed up for the fellowships emails from Dean Gwyn E. Campbell and did not pay attention to Campus Notices, I would have completely missed out on the opportunity to apply for the Gilman. W&L has taught me that you are (and that you have to be) the best advocate for yourself – which helped me to prepare a strong, competitive application. W&L also fosters such close relationships between faculty and students; Dean France went above and beyond to help me submit my application even though it was last minute.
Why did you apply for this opportunity? I applied for this opportunity because I had never studied abroad before, and I was looking for additional scholarships to cover what W&L’s spring term aid would not. I really wanted to study abroad in China because I only began studying Chinese the same academic year, even though I was adopted from China as a baby.
Post-graduation Plans: I am interested in pursuing a career at the intersection of public service, social entrepreneurship, and international affairs. What that looks like exactly, I’m not yet entirely sure – but I am excited to see where my future takes me.
How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? The Gilman Scholarship program helped to provide me with my first study-abroad experience, and for that I am forever grateful. Studying abroad truly widens one’s horizons, and going to China showed me first-hand how connected the world is and will continue to be. In this sense, the Gilman program helped to shape how I see my own future and career goals. On another note, being selected for a Gilman scholarship gave me the confidence to research and apply for other major fellowships for which I now feel like I am on a competitive level.
- Bonner Service Program
- Quest Scholars Co-President
- Club Polo Secretary
- Women’s Leadership Summit
- Volunteer Venture Leader
- QuestBridge National Ambassador Executive Board
- Bonner National Advisory Board
- Shepherd Poverty Internship in NYC (Summer 2014)
- Shepherd Poverty Internship in Dominican Republic (Summer 2015)
- Alternative Break Trips to Asheville, NC, Shreveport, LA, and Birmingham, AL
I would say that almost all of my experiences in some way contribute to my broader ‘research’ interests with poverty-related issues.