Five ASU students win Gilman Scholarship to study abroad

December 18, 2012

Five Arizona State University students have received prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships ranging in value from $2,500 to $8,000.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs,The Gilman Scholarship Program, provides study abroad opportunities for university students in the United States who are receiving federal Pell Grant funds. Gilman Scholarships help cover tuition, room and board, books, transportation, insurance, and airfare. Selianna Robles Download Full Image

The Gilman Scholarship Program is one of many study abroad opportunities for which ASU students can apply. ASU students can study abroad through over 300 programs in more than 60 countries facilitated by the Study Abroad Office.  More information on options can be found at

Selianna Robles, a junior political science major and student in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, will study at Yonsei University in South Korea for the spring 2013 semester.

“I am very excited and appreciative to receive the Gilman Scholarship and very grateful to the Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarship Advisement at ASU for helping me with my application process,” said Robles, who is from San Luis, Ariz.

The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarship Advisement (LWFONSA) is housed at Barrett Honors College and helps students from all ASU’s campuses prepare to compete for national and international awards of merit. Since 1991, LWFONSA-directed students have won more than 427 major national awards worth millions of dollars in external funding. In several competitions, ASU ranks among the top schools in the United States. In addition to Gilman, awards won include Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater, Mellon, NSF, Udall, National Security Education Program (graduate and undergraduate), Freeman Asia, Hon Kachina, Javits, Woodrow Wilson, Rotary, USA Today, and others.

“The costs related to studying abroad can really add up, and truthfully, without my Gilman award I would be taking out extra loans to cover all the costs. I am very happy that I can study abroad without worrying about my financial situation at home,” she added.

Robles said she will attend the Korean Language Institute at Yonsei University to study Korean language.

“After taking three semester of Korean here at Arizona State, I believe that going abroad will help strengthen my language skills, especially my speaking abilities. As a political science major I will also be taking South Korean foreign and domestic politics courses. I wish to work for the United States State Department in the future, and mastering a language like Korean can set me on the right path to achieving that goal.”

The 2013 Gilman Scholars from ASU are:

Christopher Gray, Ariz. – China, $2,500

Mystic Hightower, Ariz.  – Jordan, $8,000

Lisa Kramer, Ariz.  – South Africa, $4,000

Tyler Olsen, Ariz. - Brazil, $4,500

Selianna Robles, Ariz.  – South Korea, $4,000

More information about the Gilman International Scholarship Program is at

Information about LWFONSA is at

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College


Apocalypse now? Mayan calendar explained

December 18, 2012

For those of you who’ve somehow managed to remain blissfully ignorant up to this point, please be advised: the sky is falling! Or at least that’s what many who buy into the Mayan end-of-the-world prophecy would have you believe.

Not everyone is convinced, though. ASU professor Michael E. Smith, in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, specializes in archaeology and is keen to point out that there is only one ancient Maya hieroglyphic text that refers to the date Dec. 21, 2012 and that it, in fact, makes no mention of total annihilation. Download Full Image

As for the specification of that date, Smith explains that it is simply the re-start date of the Maya Long Count calendar, which began counting days back in 3114 BC. The calendar uses a base-20 numbering system that tracks days the way a car’s odometer ticks off miles, restarting at zero once it’s maxed out.

Juana C. Batz, a K’iche’ Maya from Guatemala, says that Dec. 21, 2012 is just the end of a cycle and that, “according to our sacred calendar ... it is also a cycle that begins.” It's the same way that Dec. 31 marks the end of a cycle we know as a calendar year, which, of course, then restarts on Jan. 1.

So why is everyone in such a tizzy about it? Smith chalks it up to good old capitalism.

“People are making money by inventing bogus claims about the 2012 Maya Long Count event,” he says. “It is a commercial feeding frenzy, involving wildly inaccurate and made-up claims by fake scholars.”

There’s even an entire documentary show on the National Geographic Channel dedicated to a special faction of individuals who are wholly convinced that the end is nigh. Called "Doomsday Preppers," the show follows these “survivalists” as they stock up on canned goods and toilet paper, and run test drills where they don hazmat suits and retreat to their secret bunkers where, presumably, they intend to wait out the end of times and, once the dust has settled, emerge victorious. In the midst of all this hysteria, let’s pause for just a moment and reflect: Does anybody remember Y2K? How about Harold Camping’s Rapture prediction in 2011? Right. Just asking…

Coincidentally, several schools within the university are scheduled to graduate on the now infamous date. Biology major David Fleming says he really hopes the world does not end. “I’m gonna be furious – all this work for nothing.”

At least the hype gives us an excuse (however flimsy) to crack open a bottle of bubbly and crank up R.E.M. on our stereos. Because, after all, if we’re going out, we may as well go out in style.

Some may truly believe this is the end of the world as we know it – I, for one, feel fine.

Read more about the Mayan calendar.

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657