Caitlin Zuehlke’s interest in public health will get an infusion of international perspective as the recipient of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The Lawrence University junior biology major from Shawano was among 700 American undergraduates from 341 colleges and universities across the U.S. awarded the scholarship for the 2014 Spring cycle.
Gilman Scholars, who receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad program costs, have opportunities to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies, making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.
Zuehlke was awarded a $3,500 scholarship to support her studies at Lawrence’s London Centre during the 2014 winter term (Jan. 7-March 23). She is the third Lawrence student in 2013 to be awarded a Gilman Scholarship. Senior Tammy Tran (China) and junior Zechariah Meunier (Madagascar) were selected for the 2013 Fall semester program.
In addition to her regular course work, Zuehlke plans to spend some time at Imperial College and London’s School of Public Health.
“My career goal is public health,” said Zuehlke, who spent last summer as an intern with the city of Milwaukee health department through the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) network, and since August has worked as an intern with the city of Appleton’s health department on a heroin awareness program.
“I want to interview people to see what the public health system is like in London and what they do. I’ll be shadowing some students and hopefully sitting in on some classes. I want to make some comparisons and bring that information back to put on some presentations on campus to explain what they’re doing.”
Looking beyond her 2015 graduation, Zuehlke is focusing on community health education.
“I like people. I like talking to people. I like being with people. All my life I’ve known I’ve wanted to serve in some capacity,” said Zuehlke, who battled addiction problems of her own in high school. “I took a detour, but that just makes it all the richer. Now there’s an even more relatable component to the communication with other people.”
Before leaving for London, Zuehlke will participate in a Lawrence-sponsored, 18-day study trip (Dec. 3-21) to Sierra Leone during the holiday recess. While there, she plans to collect baseline data for a longitudinal study on children’s malnutrition in Sierra Leone, a study she hopes can be carried on by future Lawrence students.
“I’m very excited, very fortunate. It’s going to be an incredible experience, how could it not be,” said Zuehlke, who will be making her first ever trip outside of the country.
The scholarship program is named in honor of Benjamin Gilman, who represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973-2003. According to Gilman, a strong advocate of study abroad programs, the scholarship “provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”
Lawrence University, "Caitlin Zuehlke Awarded National Scholarship for Off-Campus Study" (2013). Press Releases. Paper 134.