CCU’s first Gilman Scholar will study in Japan

August 1, 2017

Jagger Weatherspoon, a Coastal Carolina University history major and religious studies minor from Myrtle Beach, has been awarded a 2017 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad in Japan this coming academic year.

Weatherspoon is the first CCU student to receive the scholarship, which seeks to strengthen intercultural understanding and prepare undergraduates for a global economy by increasing the number of American students who can study abroad.

Weatherspoon will study Japanese and take courses in religion and comparative culture at Osaka Gakuin University during the Fall 2017 semester.

"I have always been fascinated with Japanese culture, and I have always wanted to be there in an academic context as a student or teacher," says Weatherspoon, who has already completed research on Japanese identity and is looking forward to eventually earning his doctorate in Japanese religions.

"My ultimate goal is to teach," he says, "and getting my foot in the door this way will be very helpful. I am looking forward to getting to know the culture by being immersed in it, rather than from a tourist perspective. This award will help alleviate some concerns I had about covering the costs of being abroad for a year."

CCU has implemented a mentoring program to assist undergraduates to compete for this award. Darla Domke-Damonte, CCU's associate provost for global initiatives, who has served on two Gilman national review panels in previous years, noted, "This award shows the strength of Jagger's application, given that less than one in three of the more than 10,000 applications are awarded. Coastal Carolina is working to double our study abroad participation, and programs like the Gilman International Scholarship provide important financial support to make that possible for a larger number of students."

The Gilman Scholarship program supports U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not study abroad due to financial constraints. For the 2016-17 academic year, more than 2,900 American undergraduate students were awarded Gilman International Scholarships, which are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education.

For further information about the mentoring program or about global initiatives at Coastal Carolina University, contact Domke-Damonte at 84-349-2129 or, or visit global.