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Record number of students win Boren Scholarships

Six William & Mary students are among this year’s recipients of David L. Boren scholarships and fellowships, designed to provide United States undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of our nation.

Elizabeth Goldemen ‘13, David Laws ‘13 and Marshall Richards ’16 will study in China. Luis Madrid ’15 will study in Japan. Rianna Jansen ’15 will study in Russia. Alison Roberts ’15 will study in Tanzania. John Polcari ’12 was named an alternate to Jordan.

“Half of our dozen applicants were awarded Boren Scholarships this year, the highest number of Boren Scholars the College has had since the program began in 1994,” said W&M Director of Fellowships Lisa Grimes. “Boren’s emphasis on intensive language study and the pursuit of careers in national security dovetails so well with the intellectual interests and career goals of so many of our current students.

“I would really like to see our number of applications – and awards – increase.” 

Rianna Jansen '15Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

“The National Security Education Program,” said Michael A. Nugent, director of NSEP, “represents an essential component of a comprehensive national security strategy to address serious and long-time deficiencies in critical language expertise.”

This year, the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received a historically high number of applications for both the undergraduate Boren Scholarship and the graduate Boren Fellowship. This year, 947 undergraduate students applied for the Boren Scholarship, with 161 awarded, while 526 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship, with 110 awarded. Boren Scholars and Fellows will live in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. They will study 34 different languages. The most popular languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Swahili, and Portuguese. Elizabeth Goldemen '13

“Never in our history has it been more important for America's future leaders to have a deep understanding of the rest of the world,” says University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who as a U.S. Senator was the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name. “As we seek to lead through partnerships, respect for and understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”

Since 1994, more than 5,000 students have received Boren Awards. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena, and program alumni are contributing to the critical missions of agencies throughout the federal government.