Ohio Wesleyan Student Earns Gilman Scholarship to Study Media Markets in United Kingdom, South Africa
DELAWARE, Ohio – After she graduates in 2023, Ohio Wesleyan University senior Jada Respress plans to move to Washington, D.C., to become a political journalist.
To help her continue to develop her skills, Respress has been awarded a 2022 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
A Communication major and Politics and Government minor from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Respress will use her scholarship to spend fall semester studying media markets in both London, United Kingdom, and Cape Town, South Africa. She will complete her work through the Open Campus Block program offered by the U.S.-based Council on International Educational Exchange.
“As an aspiring political broadcast journalist, my goal would be to gain as much career experience as possible in the news industry,” Respress said, “and studying outside the U.S. will better prepare me to inform American constituents about foreign policy and how global political systems connect with our own.
“My particular professional aspiration in life is to become a White House correspondent with a focal point on the American presidency,” she said. “In order to accomplish this, I must have a solid understanding of foreign affairs. Having a better understanding of international journalism, the role of the president, and its impact on Americans will allow me to keep the American society informed, so that we, as a country, can make proactive instead of reactive decisions.”
Respress also hopes to complete internships in both London and Cape Town, with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) at the top of her UK wish list. In South Africa, she plans to study the struggle of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president.
“Being a woman of the African diaspora, exploring South Africa will connect to my identity,” Respress said. “Maya Angelou said, ‘The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are.’ Stepping on the African soil will connect me back to my ancestry so that I am more appreciative of those who came before me and those that sacrificed so much.”
In addition to helping Respress prepare for her own future, she also wants to use her Gilman Scholarship experience to help other OWU Communication majors and minors study abroad successfully.
“I want to have a two-part workshop with the Communication Department and the International and Off-Campus Programs Office to help Communication students find ways to travel abroad within their interests,” Respress said, hoping to hold one meeting on tools and deadlines and another on more specific actions and suggestions to ensure successful international experiences.
Respress said one of the reasons she chose Ohio Wesleyan is the OWU Connection program with its opportunities to study overseas. The university’s signature program, the OWU Connection helps students to think big (understand issues from multiple academic disciplines), go global (gain international perspective), get real (translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience, and do good (participate in service to others). Learn more at owu.edu/connection.
“OWU offered a financial package that matched my intellectual worth, the ability to travel abroad and experience the world in a whole new way while obtaining an education, and the testimonies about the closeness between professors and students,” Respress said, all of which contributed to her decision to become a Bishop.
Since the Gilman International Scholarship Program was established in 2001, more than 1,300 U.S. institutions, including Ohio Wesleyan, have sent over 34,000 Gilman Scholars to 155 countries around the globe. The scholarships seek to foster mutual understanding between peoples of the United States and other countries.
In 2019, Ohio Wesleyan was recognized nationally as a Gilman “Greatest Growth Institution.” Learn more at www.gilmanscholarship.org.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “Best Colleges” lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.