Culinary student receives Gilman Scholarship for study abroad

Culinary student receives Gilman Scholarship for study abroad

Scottsdale Community College student Kelli Barr’s dream to travel abroad and see how other people live outside the U.S is on track to become reality after the Culinary Arts student received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship earlier this semester.

The scholarship will allow her to take classes in Athlone, Ireland, beginning July 1.

“I want to see how other people live their lives and see if it is completely different than ours,” said Barr, who is on track to  graduate from the Culinary Arts program in December. “I also hope to gain more courage to start conversations.”

It will be the first time she’s traveled abroad, other than a short trip to Mexico a decade ago.

During the program, she will earn six credits, taking classes in world politics and intercultural communications.

Tuition and airline travel will be covered by the Gilman Scholarship. She plans to use other funds to help cover living expenses while there.

The Gilman Scholarship is named after retired Congressman Benjamin Gilman, who served in Congress for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee before retiring in 2002. It offers up to $5,000 to recipients who participate in a study abroad program that lasts at least four weeks. Eligible students also must receive federal Pell Grants.

A graduate of Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, Barr moved to Chandler last July. She chose to attend SCC to pursue Culinary Arts. Her interest in Culinary Arts was spurred in part by a small business she started, working out of her home making cupcakes, cakes and other baked goods.

She’s done well at SCC, carrying a 3.78 g.p.a. She’s still figuring out her next professional move after graduation.

“I’m not sure if I’ll pursue culinary,” she said. “I’m also looking into becoming a flight attendant.”

As part of her application requirement, she is working on a marketing plan to publicize the Gilman Scholarship program. Her ideas are to work with the Center for Civic and Global Engagement to put out information on TV monitors and other communication platforms around campus.

She’s also planning to visit to high schools to speak to students.

“At this point, it’s really not about me traveling abroad but about helping other people do it too,” she said.

In 2014, former SCC student Donald Meeks received a Gilman Scholarship, the first SCC student to receive one.

More than 25,000 students have received Gilman Scholarships since the program was established in 2001. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education.

For more information about the Gilman Scholarship, contact Jen Sydow at

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