Shock and ice cream: Another Kohawk earns Gilman to study internationally

Faith Webb GilmanIt certainly seems like Faith Webb ’25 has always been on a path to spend time traveling the globe. She’s confident and adventurous. She knows about assimilating into a different country. She’s kept a diverse group of friends and has always held a strong interest in global cultures.

If there was ever any doubt about her wandering the world, a Gilman award has erased it. Webb earned a highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the United States Department of State toward the end of Spring Term. The scholarship enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, and Webb has chosen to travel to South Korea in the fall of 2023.

“Traveling to Korea will enhance my education in lots of ways, starting with taking courses with different groups and cultures — it’s one thing to hear about a place and its people; it’s another thing to live it,” Webb said.

As an art and communications major, Webb will take courses in those areas, as well as Korean language classes, while studying at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul. She is eager to find out what inspires her professors across all the subjects she will study.

Webb, herself, is also a source of inspiration. Always easy with a smile and a wave, she shows no trepidation about continuing her journey in Korea, and there have already been a lot of miles in her journey.

Born in Liberia, Webb spent most of her younger years in Kansas City. While in school, she developed an interest in Eastern culture, but she also knew she wanted to get out of her comfort zone when it came to college, so she looked for landing places at least a few hours away.

Coe began to stand out simply because of some of the stats at first — particularly Coe’s national internship ranking (currently #12) and the high percentage of students who double major (40%). As she continued to explore her options she honed in on Coe because it was apparent her varied experiences were valued and she would have multiple opportunities to gain even more experience outside the classroom.

“I also asked a lot about studying abroad during the admission process because I have a yearning to travel and explore,” Webb said.

In a prescient twist, as a first-year student, Webb befriended an exchange student from Sookmyung University. That friendship strengthened her interest in South Korea specifically, and she began to learn more about the Gilman during information sessions World Languages Department Chair and Director of Off-Campus Study John Chaimov facilitated.

With career interests centered in visual marketing and an interest in working in an international setting, Webb began to seriously consider applying for the Gilman. She also volunteers at the Catherine McAuley Center and works with Americorps assisting with immigration materials for refugees, but knew she was ready to take on the application process this past December. 

“The most difficult part was the essays — it ended up being about nine pages of writing, but the writing center really helped,” Webb said.

She also noted that Chaimov, her advisor Assistant Professor of Art and Film Studies Zen Cohen, the Registrar’s Office and an additional Charles and Phyllis Lindsay Scholarship for Study Abroad were all instrumental in completing her application and having the means to make the trip.

When she found out she received a Gilman scholarship, there was shock — and ice cream. She texted the news to her mentor, went out and celebrated with a cone, and then texted her whole family.

Now, she is just completing some final paperwork, and will be en route to Seoul August 24.

“I’m excited,” Webb said. “I’m sure there will be obstacles, but I love challenges.”

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