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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Sophomore Receives Gilman Scholarship, Will Study in Thailand

Chengleng Xiong will study in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from December through May.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 11-24-2014

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato sophomore Chengleng Xiong (pictured at right in photo) is one of 800 American undergraduate students from 356 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study or intern abroad during the spring 2015 academic term.

Xiong will study abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) from December 2014 through May 2015.

Xiong, a 2013 graduate of North High School in North Saint Paul, Minn., was born in Saraburi, Thailand, and came to the United States many years ago. A social work major in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Minnesota State Mankato, he wants to work with the Hmong population to increase access to education and health care.

“I want to travel around the world and help to treat poor peoples, and all Hmong peoples in different countries that need health care…I would like to start an international health care education and treatment program for international students who don’t have health care,” said Xiong.

Part of Xiong’s follow-on service project, a requirement of the Gilman Scholarship application, is “to encourage younger youths and [his] peers to study abroad, and to open up and learn about other cultures.”

Xiong is involved in the Hmong Student Association on campus.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, according to its website, aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go by offering awards to U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints. Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs.

The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The full list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available on its website.

More information on Minnesota State Mankato’s Office of University Fellowships is available at For more information on the University’s Department of Social Work, see

Those interested in additional information may contact Ginny Walters, Honors Program assistant director and university fellowship coordinator, by phone at 507-389-1262 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,700 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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