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Hernandez awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Mirlen Hernandez PictureMirlen Hernandez, a junior majoring in strategic communication and theatre at Morehead State University, was awarded the U.S. Department of State's prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. This grant program allows a student in need of financial support the opportunity to study and intern abroad.  

"I have never traveled out of state in the 21 years I've been alive, let alone around the world. What better time to do it than the present with endless possibilities, new technology and a curious mind?" Hernandez said. "I am excited to see what doors this scholarship opens up for me."  

Hernandez, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, was born in America to Mexican parents and long dreamed of becoming an actress. She decided to transfer from Bluegrass Community and Technical College to enroll in MSU's theatre program for its quality and affordability. She also formed a close bond with transfer advisor Amanda Hogge. She was then hired by Jen Timmerman, director of transition services, for a work-study position as an Eagle Transfer Guide.  

The excellent relationships she has built with MSU staff have also extended to students on campus. She is involved in student organizations like the Latino Student Union and the DREAMS (Dedicated to Retention, Education, and Academic Success) mentoring program. She also said the classroom environment has allowed her to become close with her MSU instructors.   

"Another thing that helps me be successful in school is the small student-to-faculty ratio in class sizes. This allows me to build a relationship with my professors and feel more comfortable scheduling an appointment if I need help with something," Hernandez said.   

Hernandez said she plans to use the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to travel to France to study different ways that feminism and communication tie into a culture compared to other cultures. Aaron Hirsch, coordinator for MSU's Education Abroad program, said he believes Hernandez will make the most of this unique opportunity.  

"Mirlen is an excellent example of an intelligent, hard-working student who is able to apply her many talents to create opportunities and build a distinguished academic experience," he said.  

For more information on the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and MSU's Education Abroad program, contact Hirsch at, 606-783-2044 or visit  

Students interested in applying for privately funded scholarships managed by the MSU Foundation should visit the online scholarship application at