Linke is one of more than 1,500 American undergraduate students to receive the prestigious scholarship award. The Gilman International Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Students compete on a national level and must provide strong academic, personal and professional reasoning behind their study abroad program and location. Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs.

Linke, a first-generation college student from Woonsocket, South Dakota, is an active student on campus and is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity, the Honors Program and the Student Government Association. He also serves as a student ambassador, volunteers at Charlie’s Cupboard and attends as many Center for Diversity events as possible.

“I’ve been told that I’m resilient, and even before I got to USD, I was constantly putting in extra work,” said Linke. “Receiving the Gilman Scholarship is an acknowledgement of what I have done. To receive a nationally competitive scholarship helps me overcome imposter syndrome and shows me that I deserve this opportunity.”

Linke looks forward to traveling to Berlin in the spring of 2022 for four months and is excited for the opportunity to take a course that connects his majors.

“I’ll look at how closely the media can work with politics and how the media shapes public opinion,” Linke said.

His interest in both politics and media stems from an experience Linke had in high school when he was part of a student-led coalition that petitioned to add a four-way stop sign in his hometown after three of his schoolmates were killed in a three-vehicle collision at a dangerous intersection.

“I constantly reached out to different state legislators and different local media to make a plan, then we presented to South Dakota’s Department of Transportation,” explained Linke. “I felt like my entire education for two weeks was centered on how I was going to advance this policy proposal, how I was going to spread awareness and how I was going to rally students together until we were finally able to install the stop signs. I believe that if we didn’t have all the media attention and social media engagement, we wouldn’t have gotten the outcome we wanted.”

Linke said that though he is early in his college career, he has found a home in the Department of Political Science.

“I feel like the department is an entire family. They were so welcoming and there are so many opportunities and networking connections,” said Linke. “Every time I talk to a faculty member, it’s like they genuinely care about how I am doing and what I am doing. It’s really reassuring.”

This summer Linke will intern with the Good Samaritan Society in Sioux Falls in their corporate communications office.

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