UM Students Seek Adventures Abroad as Gilman Scholars

From left-to-right and top-to-bottom: Shelby Bauman, Stephan Cardella, Hannah Davis, Maggie Gibbons, Molly Lagasse and Brandon Smith. 

MISSOULA – Seven University of Montana students have been awarded the prestigious Gilman Scholarship to study abroad.

The UM recipients of the 2022-23 Gilman Scholarship are Shelby Bauman, Stephan Cardella, Hannah Davis, Maggie Gibbons, Molly Lagasse, Emily Ramirez and Brandon Smith.

“All of this year’s awardees are extraordinarily passionate about their interests and clearly communicated in their applications that passion, interest in study abroad and their ability to represent the U.S. while abroad,” said Dr. Kylla Benes, director of UM’s Office of External Scholarships and Fellowships.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman Scholarship aims to increase the number of U.S. citizens who study abroad and  foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. The scholarship enables undergraduate students to study or intern abroad and often funds applicants who may not historically seek international educational opportunities.

Bauman, from Missoula, Montana, will head to Charles Stuart University in Australia in spring 2024 to study environmental science. Bauman is an environmental science and sustainability major and wilderness studies minor who is interested in sustainable agricultural practices and science communication. She has numerous experiences abroad and in agriculture, including interning on a free-range pig farm in New Zealand and volunteering on a permaculture farm in Peru. At Charles Stuart, Bauman plans to focus on global climate change issues and their impact on Australian ecosystems while also exploring the country.

Cardella, a junior majoring in business management and entrepreneurship, went to Romania in May 2023 on a trip co-sponsored by UM’s College of Business and the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. In Sibiu, Cardella worked with local businesses to learn about international business practices and lend his expertise. He chose to work with UNIMAT Company, assisting them with their e-commerce platform, web marketing and internationalization efforts through English language translation of marketing tools. Originally from Montana, Cardella wants to work in sustainable business practice long-term, particularly in the area of affordable and sustainable housing in the state.

“My hope is this experience provides a deeper examination of business practices and additional insights into these industries that could be applied to sustainable construction concepts at home to help lower costs and create more energy-efficient buildings,” Cardella said.

Davis, a theater major, spent her spring semester at the American University in Athens, Greece. A junior from Missoula, Montana, Davis continued music and theater classes alongside general education courses while in Greece. This was the first time abroad for Davis.

“Greece is rich in theater and history,” Davis said. “I am excited for the chance to explore a new place, understand a new culture and expand my understanding of theater and meet new people from a different country.”

Gibbons, a freshman from Missoula, Montana, will spend the 2023-24 academic year at the University of Almeria in Spain with a focus in psychology. Gibbons got to travel to Spain in spring 2022 and knew she wanted to go back for study abroad. She ultimately wants to become an art therapist to support people on their journeys towards healing and growth. With her interest in art, she is particularly interested in exploring Almeria’s art and architecture.

“I am so grateful to have received the Gilman Scholarship to fund my study abroad experience and pursue my academic and personal interests in Spain,” Gibbons said. “I am so excited to see what this next year brings into my life.”

Lagasse, a wildlife biology major, is working for the Laos Conservation Trust for Wildlife this summer to support its mission to care for, educate about and protect Laos’ diverse wildlife. Originally from New Hampshire, Lagasse came to UM for the wildlife biology program. She plans to pursue a career in international conservation.

“I want to see how wildlife is managed in a different country and give me an advantage at future wildlife jobs,” Lagasse said. “This opportunity will give me a different perspective to bring to my new jobs or help me brainstorm new ideas.”

Ramirez, a sophomore from Billings, Montana, will attend the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom in the spring to study art and animation. Ramirez recently was intrigued by shows like “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” and “The Amazing World of Gumball,” which are produced in the U.K. So she sought to study in the country to learn mixed media use in animation and experience the place and culture that has inspired her artistic interests.

“I have a desire to experience the world of art from a new viewpoint and grow a better understanding of how living in different areas causes changes in art,” Ramirez said. “I want to learn about what changes I can make to myself to help enhance my own skills in the creative field and to limit the potential for tunnel vision.”

Smith, a sophomore studying international relations and comparative politics and history, will spend the 2023-24 academic year in Denmark at Arhaus University. While there he will focus his studies on political science while also exploring the history and rich culture of the Scandinavian and Baltic regions. Since coming to UM, Smith has engaged in the campus and local community through participation in Model UN, MontPIRG and Soft Landing. He aspires to work in international relations and diplomacy.

“My time abroad will allow me to gain invaluable skills, including new ways of communication and cooperation,” Smith said. “The unique perspectives on the world, life and culture will inevitably be invaluable to my future endeavors, as it will make me a better leader as well as a better future diplomat.”


Contact: Kylla Benes, director, UM Office of External Scholarships and Fellowships, 406-243-5241,