Three Southwestern students were recently awarded with Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to study abroad in 2024. Sophia Trifilio ’25 will spend the summer abroad in Argentina, Addison Gifford ’26 will study in the United Kingdom this fall, and Wafa Bhayani ’25 will participate in Southwestern’s European Cultural Exploration (ECE) program, traveling to Ireland, Croatia, and the Czech Republic over the summer.

A political science and environmental studies double major from Houston, Trifilio will study Argentinian culture and the Spanish language during her time abroad in Buenos Aires. She will also work on a project documenting her travels through a video diary.

Gifford, an English major from Fritch, TX, will study a variety of topics in London, including British life and culture, psychology of wellbeing, and theater arts. She will also pursue an academic internship during her time in the UK.

As part of the ECE program, Bhayani, a business and psychology double major from Euless, TX, will attend Professor of Communication Studies Valerie Renegar’s Travel, Tourism, and Communication course, as well as Professor of Psychology Erin Crockett’s Cross-Cultural Psychology course.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students receiving Federal Pell Grants to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. Named after the late Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman of New York, the program aims to broaden the student population that studies abroad by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints.

These latest awards extend Southwestern’s rich history with the Gilman Scholarship. Since the program’s inception in 2001, a total of 41 SU students have now had the opportunity to study abroad thanks to the aid of a Gilman Scholarship. This marks the fifth consecutive year that at least one SU student has earned participation in the program, and the third consecutive year in which multiple SU students have been selected.

Through the program, Southwestern students have been able to study abroad in 32 different countries across six continents, including Australia, China, Costa Rica, India, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Africa, Spain, and Uruguay, among others.

Supported by the U.S. Congress, the Gilman Scholarship is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and is aided in its implementation by the Institute of International Education (IIE). To learn more about the Gilman Scholarship, visit