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Student Spotlight: Shiko Rugene

Sharon Martin

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Shiko Rugene

Shiko Rugene, recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.Photo credit: Sam Rivera


A Chico State student will be making a trip to study abroad in Thailand next semester with the help of one prestigious scholarship.

Shiko Rugene, a senior political science major, was one of the three Chico State recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The award is for $5,000 and is given to students who plan on studying abroad in non-traditional destinations.

Rugene, who is originally from Kenya, moved to Albany with her mother when she was 11-years-old. She had originally planned to study abroad in South Africa, but plans fell through.

“I decided at the last minute to study in Thailand,” Rugene said. “I talked to my financial adviser, who then recommended I apply for the Gilman.”

She will be traveling to Chiang Mai, a northern province in Thailand. She applied for the scholarship within three or four days before the final deadline, she said.

“I know it’s a lot of money, but it will definitely go a long way,” Rugene said.

One of the requirements for the scholarship includes creating a presentation or project after studying abroad. Rugene will help next year’s incoming freshman pursue a chance to study abroad.

“I decided that I would talk to the incoming freshman and do a presentation about the scholarship and studying abroad,” she said. “If I would’ve known about this, I would’ve pursued it a lot earlier.”

Rugene said she was searching to travel somewhere for a complete cultural experience.

“I wanted to go somewhere where the culture is very raw and real,” she said. “I want to go to a culture where I don’t know the language or anything.”

Rugene is looking forward to being able to spend time with the elephants in the country.

“I’m obsessed with elephants,” she said. “We get to visit elephant sanctuaries and I’m very excited.”

Even though traveling to another country isn’t new to Rugene, she expects to face some challenges.

“I’m scared and nervous as hell, but I want to conquer that all by myself,” she said.

Rugene will be graduating next fall and wants to join the Peace Corps.
She also plans on getting a master’s degree in political science.

Sharon Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @sharonbmartin on Twitter.

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Student Spotlight: Shiko Rugene