AMES, Iowa — Jeffrey Gutierrez, a 2016 graduate of Perry High School and a senior in industrial design at Iowa State University, has been awarded a nationally competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State.
Gutierrez received a $3,500 Gilman Scholarship to study drafting and design technology at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, this fall semester.
“Creativity and innovation are among my biggest values,” Gutierrez said, “but they can only be at their best when one isn’t stuck in a single perspective. That is why it’s so important to seek out new opportunities and ideas. I expect that being immersed in the Swedish culture will transform my way of thinking and will help my creativity.”
The student in the ISU College of Design said he is interested in a user-experience design-related career, and KTH offers access to courses and topics not available at Iowa State, such as classes on haptics and tactile interaction. Gutierrez said he is looking forward to living in Sweden, which is ranked as one of the most innovative and “green” nations in the world.
“My design practice will always be influenced by ethical decisions about the environment and sustainability,” he said. “Living and studying in Sweden will help me develop new habits and ideas about creating a more sustainable world and provide lessons I will carry with me long after I graduate.”
Gutierrez is a scholar in the ISU Multicultural Vision Program (MVP), but studying abroad was a goal that potentially seemed out of reach.
“I firmly believe that no matter what their background is, students should be able to get the most out of their time in college,” he said, “but being the first in my family to go to college, not much guidance was available.”
The PHS grad was a true beginner and had to figure things out for himself.
“For many of us, money tends to be an issue for our families, and just simply getting through college is enough,” he said. “The Gilman Scholarship Program makes it clear that anyone should have the opportunity to extract as much as possible from the experience and provides the resources to do so,” he said.
Gilman scholars are required to develop a follow-on service project to raise awareness of study abroad and the Gilman scholarship among their peers on campus or in their home community. In order to help other Iowa State students learn about the scholarship program and encourage them to apply, Gutierrez plans to give presentations to the next cohort of MVP scholars and to students in the industrial design department and use his design skills to create materials to share information with a larger audience.