Gilman Scholar studying in United Arab Emirates

Josef Baylis ’16 aims to attend medical school, yet as a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship recipient he will travel the world first.

With a Gilman International Scholarship through the U.S. State Department of State, the senior Biochemistry major is studying language and culture in the United Arab Emirates, cultural capital of the Arabic world. He is fulfilling a dream to study abroad, but also a burning desire to meet and learn from different people in foreign countries.

“I’m going there representing the United States with a goal of working globally to have a bigger impact,” Josef said before leaving.

Josef’s career path at Dominican has been leading him on a pre-med course. He has participated in the Kaiser Permanente Scholars and Mentors program, presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and, last summer, Randall Hall, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, recommended Josef serve an internship in a NSF-sponsored REU program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge where Josef worked with a team to advance algorithmic investigations by researching particle pathways, which predict how different molecules will behave and interact.

“Josef has great intellectual curiosity and finds something of interest in almost anything,” Hall says. “His questions demonstrate an excellent ability to synthesize information from different sources. Combining this with his top-notch technical abilities in math, biology, and chemistry has made him the type of student that can have his choice of professions.  I think, for example, that he could go to grad school in theoretical chemistry just as easily as he could go to medical school.”

Josef’s long-term plan at the moment is to be a trauma surgeon, perhaps with an organization such as Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross or the U.S. Navy where he could treat patients around the globe.

Dominican offered him options to explore and learn. Motivated as a freshman by an honors course on architecture and religion, Josef eventually met Giulia Welch in the Global Education Office. Welch, GEO’s assistant director of Global Learning, encouraged Josef to apply for Dominican’s Semester Abroad program.

Josef is one of 12 Dominican undergraduates from the School of Health and Natural Sciences, the Barowsky Business School and the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences participating in Dominican Semester Abroad, the highest number of students abroad on a semester exchange in the University's 125-year history.

After he was accepted to the program, Josef was among nearly 2,900 students who applied for a Gilman Scholarship. He was one of about 850 to receive one.

“It really opened my eyes to all the qualities that I have to offer,” Josef says. “This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. Such international exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.

The congressionally funded program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education through its office in Houston. Named after retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman from New York, the program was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000.


September 15, 2015