Scholarship sends two students overseas for spring ’17

Two Sacramento State students are headed overseas in spring 2017 thanks to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Lyudmyla Nastasiychuk, a finance major, will study at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England. Sociology major Micaiah Palmer will attend Gothenburg University in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Lyudmyla Nastasiychuk, Sacramento State student

Nastasiychuk said she was excited to have this opportunity and be able to not only study abroad, but to do it with a scholarship.

“Receiving a Gilman scholarship is just another incredible addition to my experience abroad,” Nastasiychuk says. “It is a privilege to know that people believe in me who I have never met and provide me the resources to make my dreams come true.”

Palmer said she is studying abroad not only to improve herself, but also to show others that it is possible and to follow their dreams.Lyudmyla Nastasiychuk,

“Because of the Gilman scholarship I am able to make my goals a reality,” Palmer says. 

Micaiah Palmer, Sacramento State student

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is an undergraduate grant that enables students who are citizens and have limited finances to study abroad, allowing them to become educated on global economy.

The grant is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The grant is also administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Scholarship awardees receive up to $5,000 toward their study abroad tuition. The program looks to diversify students who study and intern abroad in other countries and regions in which they travel. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad are eligible to apply.

Megan Gross goes above and beyond for teaching

A 2007 graduate of Sacramento State’s teaching credentials program, Southern California high school teacher Megan Gross recently was named a California Teacher of the Year for creating a classroom that provides security and comfort to her students.

Gross is an autism spectrum disorder teacher at Del Norte High School for the Poway Unified School District in San Diego. Gross was one of five teachers chosen for this award, and has also been nominated for the 2017 National Teacher of the Year Award that is to be announced in spring.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to showcase the incredible work of special education teachers and further inclusive education opportunities for students with disabilities across our state,” Gross says.

Gross earned her bachelor of science in genetics at UC Davis in 2002. In 2004, she came to Sac State to earn her level I and II credentials for teaching.mgross-2016

“My Special Education Credential Program advisors at Sac State, Dr. Kathy Gee and Dr. Jean Gonsier-Gerdin, opened my eyes to the opportunities and possibilities of inclusive education,” Gross says.

Before going to Sac State, she supported individuals with disabilities through a Yolo County nonprofit known as the Summer House Inc. The people she supported showed great work ethic and valued education.

A special education teacher for nine years, Gross now teaches an autism spectrum disorder special day class at Del Norte High. There, she leads instructional assistants who collaborate to create various learning opportunities and experiences for students.

“Teaching is life-fulfilling work,” Gross says. “I love the challenge of identifying the best instructional and support strategies for my new students each fall and delight in the rewards of each student’s ‘a-ha’ moment that ultimately leads to growth and continued success.”

Since she started teaching, Gross has been able to create a welcoming classroom environment where students can access resources they need to excel academically and socially. She has also led her students in launching a schoolwide campaign, “Soctober,” to collect socks and blankets to help homeless families in their school district.

“Watching my students learn big ideas in biology, U.S. history, health, photography, choir, and marching band, and become valuable members of their classroom and campus community, is the most incredible reward in my professional career,” Gross says.

Kim Zarins holds last signing for her new book


Sacramento State Professor Kim Zarins, who has just released her third book, has her last book signing at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 8, at Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Roseville.

Her book, Sometimes We Tell the Truth, was released Sept. 6 by Simon Pulse publishing. Since then she has held several signings at different locations in the Sacramento region.

Zarins’ book was inspired by The Canterbury Tales, but tells the story of a busload of teenage students instead of Christians on a pilgrimage. Her previous children books include The Playful Bunny and The Helpful Puppy.


Zarins came to Sac State as a professor eight years ago and now teaches medieval and children’s literature. She received her doctoral degree from Cornell University in New York.

For more on Professor Zarins, read our news release about the publication of Sometimes We Tell the Truth.