Brookhaven teen to study in Peru this summer

Published 8:53 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Brookhaven teenager will pursue her dreams to become a medical missionary abroad with help along the way coming from a new scholarship.

Taylor Cupit, a Mississippi College freshman, received a $5,000 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study in Peru this summer.

A biology-medical sciences major and Spanish minor, Cupit, 18, is among more than 250 American undergraduates to earn the prestigious award. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the scholarship.

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The award is named for the late Benjamin Gilman, a 15-term New York congressman who once chaired the House International Relations Committee. The World War II Army Air Corps veteran was first elected to Congress in 1972. Born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in 1922, the Republican died in 2016 at age 94.

“Study abroad is a very special experience for every student who participates,” Gilman said. “It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor.”

As a premed student on the Clinton campus, Cupit is delighted to get the chance to join a program in South America aimed at increasing the pool of physicians fluent in Spanish.

“The population of Spanish speaking citizens in the United States is growing very rapidly,” Cupit said. “Right now there is a communication gap in our health care system making it hard to give proper care.”

Her plans are to attend the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and become a general physician. As a doctor, Cupit hopes to travel on medical mission trips overseas.

A graduate of North Pike High School, Cupit is the daughter of Jeff and Kathy Cupit, of Brookhaven. Her father is the senior pastor at New Sight Baptist Church. Her mother is a nursing student.

Beth Stapleton, who chairs MC’s Department of Modern Languages, is proud of Cupit and her accomplishments. “It is a nice honor, and one that’s very competitive,” she said.

The Gilman International Scholarship, Stapleton says, reaches out to help students meet their financial needs to travel to other countries.

“We at MC have had some students go to Japan, China and Nepal in the past,” she said. “This is the first time for Peru.”

Cupit says she fell in love with the 191-year-old Baptist-affiliated university the minute she arrived on the Clinton campus. She loves the Christian environment and the fact that her professors know her personally.

“At Mississippi College, I have been able to grow academically, socially and spiritually,” Cupit said.

Students interested in applying for Gilman scholarships should contact Stapleton at or 601-925-7664.