College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Student awarded Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Denmark

Cody Hoover stands in front of an Iowa State University sign at the Des Moines Airport, before he starts his trip to Denmark.

Cody Hoover, junior in software engineering, was selected to receive a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to supplement his studies in Denmark.

Sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Gilman Scholarship Program supports students with limited financial means who wish to study abroad.

“Any job now, but engineering in particular, is becoming a global endeavor. Studying abroad gives me a leg up for future experiences,” Hoover said, adding that spending six months living in Europe will help prepare him for a career that might require him to live outside the U.S.

Hoover is currently studying in Odense, Denmark, at the University of Southern Denmark. He grew interested in studying abroad while he was a member of the Engineering Ambassador and Mentor Program (TEAM), a group of student volunteers who educate prospective students about engineering at Iowa State.

“Through my involvement with TEAM, I learned how beneficial—and how fun—studying abroad can be in terms of professional and educational growth,” Hoover said.

He decided on the University of Southern Denmark because it offered the courses he needed in a curriculum tailored specifically for exchange students, taught in English. The program was also more cost-effective than those in other English-speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand.

Hoover had expected to pay for the trip without outside assistance; in fact, he was unaware of the Gilman Scholarship until just before the application deadline.

“I got an email from the engineering study abroad coordinator, Shannon Miner, right before the application was due. Fortunately, the deadline was pushed back two weeks, which gave me time to fill out the application,” Hoover said.

His application required two letters of recommendation and two essays, including a purpose statement covering his reasons and goals for studying abroad, and a service project proposal.

“Either during your study abroad experience or within a couple months of getting back, you’re required to do something for your school or community to raise awareness about international studies, teach kids about other parts of the world, and raise awareness about the scholarship,” Hoover explained.

To broadcast information about this and other scholarship opportunities more publicly to Iowa State students, Hoover plans to use what he called a “three-pronged attack.”

First, he intends to reach potential students through TEAM, specifically at Scholar’s Day, where he connects with high school students interested in engineering. Second, he has proposed a community blog or study abroad-oriented column in a student publication to reach current students. Finally, he intends to work with students in the public school system around Ames and further afield to get kids excited about studying abroad, and to start planning their opportunities early.

For further information on Hoover’s experiences in Denmark, visit his blog.