Three WKU students have received David L. Boren Scholarships sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) to fund study abroad in China and Jordan.

Ellen Linder of Louisville and Brandon Pruitt of Bowling Green are members of the Chinese Flagship Program and will complete their Capstone Year in China. Hannah Chaney of Louisville will study in CET’s Intensive Language Summer Program in Jordan. All three are members of the Mahurin Honors College.

NSEP’s Boren Awards program provides 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 our nation. In exchange for funding, Boren Award recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least one year.

Linder is an international affairs major and the daughter of Beth and Mark Linder. She has been a Spirit Master since 2014, recently served as Spirit Masters president, and is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She has studied abroad in China, Taiwan and the United Kingdom and completed an Honors thesis on human rights and reparations in South Africa under the mentorship of Dr. Patricia Minter of the Department of History and Dr. Timothy Rich of the Department of Political Science.

Pruitt is an international affairs and Spanish major and the son of Cristi and Barry Pruitt. He is a Cadet Battalion Commander for the WKU Army ROTC and a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. In addition to studying Mandarin language and electoral politics in Taiwan, he has completed an Army language training program in Madagascar, studied in Argentina and traveled independently in Brazil to develop Spanish and Portuguese language proficiency. He is completing an Honors thesis on Chinese military modernization under the direction of Dr. Timothy Rich.

Chaney is a biology and Arabic major and the daughter of Kay and Curtis Chaney. She is a member of Omega Phi Alpha service sorority and conducted research in the Department of Biology under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Collyer. She intended to pursue a career in medicine, but became interested in public health and water resources in the Middle East after her experiences with Arabic language study, Kentucky Refugee Ministries in Louisville, the International Center of Bowling Green, and coursework in ecology and geology. She plans to pursue a career gathering and analyzing environmental data to support fruitful negotiations between countries on natural resources.

This year, the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received 791 applications from undergraduate students for the Boren Scholarship and 194 were awarded. Recipients will study 36 different languages in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. The most popular languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Swahili and Korean.

“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,” said 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, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”

Since 1994, over 6,000 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.

WKU’s Boren Awards campus representative, Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith, encourages undergraduate and graduate students interested in federal careers and critical language study abroad to contact the Office of Scholar Development to discuss program guidelines and application process.

About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping WKU students in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in nationally competitive scholarships.


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