Pellissippi State recognized by U.S. State Department for number of study abroad Gilman Scholars

Gilman 20th anniversary logoPellissippi State Community College was recognized today by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for being one of the colleges that have produced the most Gilman recipients over the past 20 years in the Associate Institution category. 

Fourteen students from Pellissippi State have received Gilman awards since 2001, studying abroad in countries such as Ecuador, Italy and Japan. 

“One of the biggest barriers to study abroad is the cost,” explained Theresa Castillo, assistant director for the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies located at Pellissippi State. “Having this support at the federal level is multi-pronged. Not only do they receive financial support, but once they’re in, they have access to an entire network of Gilman alumni and staff. It’s not just one and done. As life-changing as a study abroad experience is for all students, the Gilman Program is even more so for the breadth of opportunities it opens up to students.” 

Throughout its 20-year history, the Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program has reshaped study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students by providing scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduate students who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate.  

Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 34,000 Gilman Scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe. 

Today at the Diversity Abroad conference, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ethan Rosenzweig virtually announced the U.S. colleges and universities that have sent the most Gilman Scholars abroad over the past two decades. These institutions – categorized by small, medium and large institutions as well as associate-degree-awarding institutions like Pellissippi State – were recognized for their support of equity, diversity and accessibility in study abroad for American students through the Gilman Program. 

“Literally thousands of colleges send students abroad, so this is really a monumental achievement for Pellissippi State,” Castillo said. “Pellissippi State is the flagship institution for the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, which represents 19 colleges and universities in the state, and this honor shows that we know what we’re doing and making study abroad programs available is paying off for our students.” 

While TnCIS was unable to send students abroad after March 2020 and throughout 2021 due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, TnCIS applications are open now for summer 2022 programs. Applications are due Feb. 11. Interested students can see all the programs offered and learn more on the TnCIS website at 

To learn more about the Gilman and Gilman-McCain Scholarships and how their diverse alumni are pursuing impactful careers in the government, nonprofit and private sectors, contact or visit