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Rogersville student wins second trip abroad

Debra Williams, Community Contributor • Jun 19, 2017 at 8:38 AM

MORRISTOWN — A Walters State Community College student from Hawkins County spent part of her summer studying Western world literature in Greece thanks to a prestigious scholarship given by the U.S. Department of State.

Megen Wesemann, a pre-engineering major from Rogersville, received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The award enables students to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to national security and economic competitiveness. It is sponsored by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Wesemann is believed to be the first Walters State student to receive the honor.

The Western world literature course was led by Dr. Viki Rouse, professor of English at Walters State. Wesemann said it was fascinating to read about events that happened so many years ago and then visit the actual sites.

“We read ‘Apologies from Socrates,’ which was written by Plato. Then, we went to the actual prison where Socrates was held and to his tomb. Visiting these locations throughout Greece was so much more meaningful because we knew the significance,” Wesemann said.

This was actually Wesemann’s second international study trip. She traveled to Spain on spring break after receiving the Walters State International Travel Scholarship. She encourages students to do what is necessary to travel.

“Here at Walters State, many of us don’t have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for tuition and, since we live at home, we’re not paying rent. You can stop picking up an expensive cup of coffee on the way to class every day and it adds up,” Wesemann said.

While in Greece, she won a laurel wreath in a race on Mount Olympus.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is named in honor of the late congressman whose service included being a congressional delegate to the United Nations. Gilman supported many international initiatives. He created and served on the Commission Against Hunger and fought for more time and resources devoted to locating prisoners of war and service members missing in Southeast Asia following the Vietnam War. Gilman died in 2016.

The International Travel Scholarship is part of Walters State’s Global Connections, a program designed to prepare students to compete in a global marketplace.

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