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CCU sophomore earns Gilman Scholarship to study in Italy

February 3, 2023
CCU sophomore Isaiah Cook was recently awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship..The award will help fund his 2023-2024 academic year at the Accademia dell’Arte.

Isaiah Cook will leap from Coastal Carolina University’s stage to conservatory training in Arezzo, Italy, with assistance from a prestigious national scholarship. Cook, a sophomore physical theatre major from Pleasant Grove, Utah, was recently awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. The award will help fund his 2023-2024 academic year at the Accademia dell’Arte (ADA). Cook is CCU’s 18th winner of the award since 2017.

The Gilman Scholarship program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State that enables students to gain skills critical to national security and economic prosperity. Awards range up to $5,000 for study, research, or internship support abroad, with an additional $3,000 if students study a critical language as part of their experience.

During his year abroad, Cook will focus on commedia dell’arte.

“The conservatory training in physical theatre at ADA will expand my creativity and body of work,” said Cook. “I am excited to collaborate with students from around the country, study theatre in a different cultural context, and learn Italian.”

Cook is a 2022-2023 Edwards Center for Inclusive Excellence Research Fellow at CCU. As a freshman, he was the first recipient of the Robin Edwards Russell Theatre Endowed Scholarship, named to honor Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts alumna and faculty member, Robin Edwards Russell.

“Isaiah is an outstanding student and hardworking theatre artist who always greets the world with kindness,” said Steven Higginbotham, professor and chair of the theatre department. “He truly embodies the spirit of our CCU theatre department with his dedication to his studies, his craft, and collaborating creatively and effectively with his peers. We celebrate his achievement of earning this award and know that he will thrive in his year abroad at the Accademia dell’Arte.”

Cook will perform in the role of Truffaldino in CCU’s upcoming production of “The Green Bird,” which will be held Feb. 17-25 in Wheelwright Auditorium. “The Green Bird” is a modern adaptation by Hillary DePiano of the 1765 commedia dell'arte play by Italian playwright Carlo Gozzi.

The next Gilman Scholarship deadline is March 9, 2023 for programs and internships that start between May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024 (this cycle encompasses Summer 2023, Fall 2023, Academic Year 2023-2024, and Spring 2024). Eligible students should contact For more information on the Gilman Scholarship and other study abroad opportunities for CCU students, click here.