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A&S International Student Awarded Scholarship for Cross-Cultural Understanding

By Haley Evans and Pedro Fernandes

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 & 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.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.