January 11, 2010

Khadija Abdel Hafiz-Sokaria ’12 and Jasmine Little ’11 Receive Gilman Scholarships to Study Abroad

Awards will support their travel to Egypt, South Africa, Vietnam, and Brazil

Two Lafayette students have received Gilman Scholarships to support their semester abroad experiences this spring. Khadija Abdel Hafiz-Sokaria ’12 will study in Egypt and Jasmine Little ’11 will study in South Africa, Vietnam, and Brazil.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants to undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. The program offers scholarships for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad, and aims to encourage students to choose non-traditional study abroad destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe and Australia.

Little (Trenton, N.J.), a psychology major, will be taking part in the International Honors Program with about 30 students from other institutions. She will be taking four courses focusing the biological, ecological, economic, political, and socio-cultural factors that affect human health in each of the three countries in which she will visit.

She hopes that her participation in the study abroad program will be beneficial as she prepares for a career in clinical psychology.

“This experience will help me take a unique approach to fulfilling my goal of serving those who are not typically represented in the psychological field,” Little says. “I plan to use this study abroad opportunity to learn about different cultures and how they relate specifically to mental health. Engaging in cultures different from my own will allow me to treat mental health patients effectively as I believe that much of the determinants of health are subjective to the particular community they are a part of.”

Abdel Hafiz-Sokaria (Arlington, Va.), an international affairs major, will be studying at The American University in Cairo, where she will be taking an elementary Arabic course, and courses on Arabic literature, Islamic law reform, the social and political history of the Middle East, and the art and architecture of Cairo.

After graduation from Lafayette, she is interested in studying international relations and Arab studies at the graduate level, preferably in the Washington D.C. area.

“I feel that the experience of studying abroad in Egypt will definitely help with my future goals because it will give me a foundation for understanding and immersing myself in Arab culture and traditions,” Abdel Hafiz-Sokaria says. “Also, the experience will help me to appreciate different peoples and the lifestyles that their cultures offer.”

On campus, Little is a psychology tutor, the vice president of the Association of Black Collegians, and the vice president of the Precision Step Team. She is also working on EXCEL research with Ann McGillicuddy-DeLisi, Metzgar Professor of Psychology, to explore aversive racism and how it affects the allocation of health care. “This distributive justice approach to learning about the race, culture, and health has allowed me to recognize how necessary my career goal is for our society,” Little says.

Abdel Hafiz-Sokaria volunteers her time through the College’s Landis Community Outreach Center as a program coordinator for the “Kids at Third Street” program. She plays women’s club soccer, is involved with UNITY, and is a tour guide and a Lafayette Ambassador. In addition, she spent time teaching English to high school students in Costa Rica as an intern with WorldTeach.

See a list of recent Lafayette recipients of national and international scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and post-graduate study. For information on applying for scholarships and fellowships, contact Julia A. Goldberg, associate dean of the College, (610) 330-5521.

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