The Edmond Sun

January 4, 2014

UCO student selected for national scholarship to study abroad

Special to The Sun

EDMOND — University of Central Oklahoma senior Leondrea Gates, a mass communications and photographic arts student from Oklahoma City, will spend the spring studying abroad after receiving the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Gates is one of six Oklahomans to receive the honor for spring 2014 study abroad programs.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, the scholarship will allow Gates to study at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea.

Gates, whose mother and grandfather are Central alumni, received $3,000 to apply toward study abroad program costs. It will be her first trip outside of the U.S.

“I wanted to study abroad in Korea because I was determined to improve my language skills. When I first enrolled at UCO, I enrolled late. I wanted to take a language course, and Chinese was one of the only ones not filled. I ended up loving Chinese, so I took courses in Korean as well,” Gates said.

In addition to language classes, Gates will take courses that pertain to communications and spend a significant amount of time behind the lens of her camera, honing her photography skills.

“The scholarship made a big difference for me,” Gates added, noting that the award will allow her to continue to devote time to her studies rather than taking on additional job.

The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. It provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide. For more information about the scholarship, visit

For more information about Central’s study abroad opportunities, visit