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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Prestigious Gilman Scholarship Awarded to Eischens

Cadence Eischens '23 received a Gilman scholarship.

Cadence Eischens ’24 received the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which will enable her to study ecology, culture and conservation in Thailand this spring.

Eischens, who is majoring in both environmental studies and anthropology/sociology, is attending a program hosted by the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI), which includes classes to learn Thai language and culture, as well as field studies across the country. 

“ISDSI was at last year’s study abroad fair and the program was just what I was looking for,” Eischens said. “I’m really interested in how communities connect with their environments, and how strengthening these relationships can help in dealing with the larger environmental crisis. 

“I always hoped to study abroad. I didn’t think it was going to happen because of the pandemic. I’m excited to be immersed in a part of the world that I had never considered going to before.”

The Gilman scholarship allows students with limited financial resources to study or intern abroad. Eischens was notified of the opportunity by Todd Heidt, director of the Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies and professor of German. She worked with John Haslem, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), on her final essay for the application. 

“I’m a writing tutor in the CTL so I know John well. It made a huge difference to get his help,” Eischens said.

“Cadence is a Knox student through and through,” Heidt said. “She's used to getting her hands dirty, whether in 4-H back home in Minnesota or here on the Knox Farm. Cadence's work at Knox has been equal parts scientific study of our environment and artistic work around environmentalism in an attempt to connect people emotionally with the environmental challenges we all face.” 

Eischens’ ultimate goal is to pursue a career in environmental communications. She is planning to return to Knox for a fifth year, which provided her with a bit of extra time to participate in the Green Oaks Term last spring, a critical experience for her future.

“It was critical to me that my study abroad program would allow me to develop reciprocal relationships with my host communities. I’m excited that through this program I’ll get to work alongside Karen people in northern Thailand, farmers in central Thailand, and Muslim fisherpeople in southern Thailand. I’ll be studying food systems, indigenous rights, ecology, and conservation, from the perspective of  people whose families have been stewards of the land for generations.”

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Printed on Sunday, June 23, 2024