Three Students Receive Boren Scholarships for Foreign Language Study

Kaleigh Mency
Kaleigh Mency
Christopher Smith-Burks
Christopher Smith-Burks
Joseph Kerlin-Smith
Joseph Kerlin-Smith

Three undergraduates have been awarded Boren Scholarships by the Institute of International Education to support their study of foreign languages during the 2017-18 academic year.

With the scholarship, Kaleigh Mency, a junior political science major from Brockton, will study Mandarin at Yunnan University in China. Christopher Smith-Burks, a sophomore from Durham, N.C., who is majoring in junior marketing/Chinese language and literature, will study also Mandarin in China, but at Tsinghua University. Joseph Kerlin-Smith, a junior communication major from Sunderland, plans to study the language of Amharic at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia.

Boren 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. Boren Awards provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the nation. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

This year, the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received 791 applications from undergraduates for the Boren Scholarship and 194 were awarded; 340 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship and 114 were awarded. Boren scholars and fellows will live in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who as a U.S. senator was the principal author of the legislation that created the NSEP and the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name, says, “To continue to play a leadership role in the world, it is vital that America's future leaders have a deep understanding of the rest of the world.”