Student News

International Students Awarded Scholarship for Cross-Cultural Understanding

Photo of President Capilouto with two scholarship recipients
President Eli Capilouto (center) was on hand to congratulate scholarship recipients Alvaro Gonzalez Elias and Kia Markussen.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2021)  Two international students were awarded the 2021 Viji Jeganathan Scholarship for Cross-Cultural Understanding during the Global Impacts Awards Ceremony, recognizing their leadership and ability to bridge cultural differences and promote communication between diverse nationalities at the University of Kentucky.

The $1,000 scholarship is awarded annually in memory of former UK student Viji Jeganathan who lost her battle with cancer while attending the university. Originally from Sri Lanka, Jeganathan’s family created the scholarship with funding raised by the community.

Two students were selected as the 2021 recipients:

Alvaro Gonzalez Elias

Elias, an undergraduate student from Peru studying U.S. culture and business practices in the College of Arts and Sciences, has worked to improve a sense of belonging for Latino/Hispanic students. As an officer in the Latino Student Union, he has brought students from different backgrounds together by coordinating programs and dialogues focused on Latin American cultures and traditions as well as cross-cultural engagement.

Kia Markussen

Markussen, a graduate student from Denmark studying biochemistry in the College of Medicine, has demonstrated her commitment to building cross-cultural understanding through work in her department. She serves as the co-chair of the International Students Concerns Committee within the Graduate Student Congress. Her work to advocate for international students on campus and in the community is critical to building understanding across cultures.

Both international and American students are eligible to apply for the Viji Jeganathan Scholarship for Cross-Cultural Understanding. For more information about the scholarship, click here.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.