Student News

Computer science junior awarded Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Germany

Photo of Kyra Gegner
Kyra Gegner is currently spending the semester studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 6, 2024)  Kyra Gegner, a computer science junior and Lewis Honors College student at the University of Kentucky, has been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to support her education abroad goals.

The Gilman Scholarship supports students who have been traditionally under-represented in study abroad, including but not limited to, students with high financial need, community college students, students in under-represented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds and students with disabilities.

Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award — ranging from $100 to $5,000 — to cover the cost of tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare.

The congressionally-funded scholarship is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education. The scholarship holds two application cycles per year, with the next deadline on March 7.

The daughter of Tom Gegner and Erica Ruth, Gegner is from Paoli, Indiana.

As a young girl, she didn’t necessarily have the answer to the common question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” But Gegner knew she enjoyed working with numbers, which ultimately led her the Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering.

Throughout her time at UK, Gegner credits Professor Brent Harrison, Ph.D., as a considerable influence. The goal of his research is to create AI and machine learning systems that can better understand and interact with humans.

“His passion for research is truly inspiring, and it has made class really enjoyable,” she said. “Assignments don’t really feel like a chore, but rather, fun puzzles to solve that reinforced my understanding of course concepts.”

Gegner is currently spending the semester studying in Heidelberg, Germany and believes the impact of her experience abroad has already proved to be invaluable.

“This is an amazing opportunity and one I would not have been able to afford without the scholarship, so for that I am grateful,” she said. “Studying abroad has such potential to aid me both in my personal life and my professional career. It opens the boundaries of communication between cultures and promotes a free sharing of ideas.”

About the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards

The UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external fellowships scholarships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office's director, Pat Whitlow, well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

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