Jessica Witkowski ’15 Earns Gilman Scholarship

Jessica Witkowski ’15

Cedar Crest College student, Jessica Witkowski ’15, is the recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad program. Witkowski, who will travel Accra,Ghana this summer, is the fourth Cedar Crest student in the last three years to receive this prestigious award.

“I am thrilled at the prospect of studying in a country that is full of life and history,” she said. “Being a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship has helped me tremendously in being able to afford this amazing opportunity.”

Witkowski is an English major (literature concentration) with a minor in civic engagement. The summer African studies program gives students the unique opportunity to experience Ghanaian culture and society through a service learning course and work in a variety of settings. These service learning and experiential opportunities include teaching at an elementary school and assisting with advocacy and awareness programs at the West African Aids Foundation.

“I believe that having the opportunity to see the needs of a Ghanaian community first-hand will give me the background knowledge of service-learning and social justice that is needed to achieve my career goal of becoming a community organizer in a non-profit agency.”

Having never traveled outside of the United States before, Witkowski is excited to experience another culture so different from her own.

“I believe study abroad is important in relation to a commitment to civic engagement. The importance of civic engagement should not only be stressed in hometowns and communities, but abroad as well. When studying outside of the United States, especially while volunteering, students are given the privilege of being educated about another culture unlike their own. They learn that compassion and commitment to others’ well-being can be emphasized beyond borders.”

A junior at Cedar Crest, Witkowski works as a special programs coordinator in the Lutz Center for Community Service and is secretary of Preterite, Cedar Crest’s literary society.