Rebeca Lara posing in front of mountains

| September 18, 2020

Rebecca Lara, a student at the University of Iowa College of Education, was recently awarded the 2020 Gilman Scholarship. Gilman scholarship recipients receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. Lara, along with eight other undergraduate UI students were chosen from thousands of applicants from colleges and universities across the United States.

Originally from West Liberty, Iowa, Lara is currently a sophomore majoring in English with a minor in Spanish. She will enroll in the College of Education to pursue secondary education this year.

“Since I was young, I have always wanted to be a teacher,” says Lara. “This was due to the amazing teachers I had in school that pushed me to become the person that I am today.

Even before coming to college, Lara knew studying abroad was something she wanted to do during her four years at the University of Iowa.

Once on campus, Lara was introduced to a summer abroad program that would take place in Valladolid, Spain, which sparked her interest. She then set up a meeting with a study abroad advisor where she was then introduced to the Gilman Scholarship.

As a winner of the scholarship, Lara will get to study abroad in Spain next summer to complete her Spanish minor.

“Being able to finish my Spanish minor in Spain will improve both my reading and writing skills immensely and allow me to experience new cultures and surroundings,” says Lara.

Growing up, Lara also noticed that students in her classes also had trouble communicating with their teacher due to language barriers, so Lara hopes to eliminate that problem in her future classrooms.

Fortunately, the scholarship has not changed due to COVID-19, other than the time that they are abroad. Instead of traveling to Spain last summer, Lara will get to go this coming summer.

With the help of this scholarship, Lara will get to experience new things that will help her become a better teacher.

“I hope to show future students the same support and care I had been treated with while in school,” says Lara.