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UD students Jackson McClellan and Rebecca King are Boren Scholars.

Boren Scholars

Two UD students receive awards for language study in Kyrgyzstan and Japan

University of Delaware students Rebecca King and Jackson McClellan have received Boren Awards for international language and culture study in countries of their choice.

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships focus on helping American students build expertise in geographic areas, languages and fields of study that are critical to U.S. national security interests and underrepresented in study abroad.

Rebecca King

Beginning this fall, Rebecca King, an Honors sophomore with a double major in geography and Russian and a Eugene du Pont Distinguished Memorial Scholar, funded by the Unidel Foundation, will be studying in Kyrgyzstan for the academic year.

“I chose Kyrgyzstan because it is a fascinating place,” King said. “Located on the old Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan is often considered ‘a cultural crossroads’ and is a geopolitically important region.”

King found choosing a topic for her essays the most challenging part of the application due to the vastness of Kyrgyzstan’s rich, vibrant culture. With only a few months until departure, King said she is both excited and nervous about learning and immersing herself in the language and culture of Kyrgyzstan.

“As someone with an adventurous streak, I love to seek out new challenges and am excited to start one,” she said.

Harry McClellan

Harry (Jackson) McClellan, a senior electrical engineering major and sustainable energy technology minor, will embark on a study abroad experience to Japan through a Boren Award.

"I chose Japan because it is one of the world’s leaders in technology," he said. "I had a few semesters of Japanese under my belt, so I knew what I was getting into and wouldn't be completely lost in a study abroad semester."

For McClellan, Boren is a perfect fit since he plans to work for the government to improve national security. He has spent over 12 years studying German, another prominent language in the tech field, and has traveled to Germany in the past for foreign exchange and travel.

Adhering to the strict word limit was the most challenging aspect for McClellan during the application process. He spent about two weeks getting his essay ready for submission.

As he prepares for his summer in Japan, McClellan reflected on his upcoming journey. He, too, is both excited and nervous about his time abroad. McClellan said he is most excited about the learning opportunities he’ll have in Japan, while acknowledging that he is nervous about making new connections. “Since it’s outside of my comfort zone,” he said, “I’ll have to build on my social skills to make friends.”

For students looking to become Boren scholars, King and McClellan offer the following advice on the application process.

"I would say make sure you have a fleshed out idea of what you want to do in line with what Boren expects of its applicants," McClellan said. "You want to clearly define what aspect of national security you want to assist with, how you plan to do that, who can help you do that, why a relationship with your target country is essential to that goal, and how both countries can benefit from this."

“Let your passion show through your essays,” King shared. “This includes your love of the language along with your desire to serve the United States with your talents and abilities.”

Those who plan to apply for a 2018 Boren award are encouraged to explore the Boren website and contact associate director for study abroad Lisa Chieffo for advice on navigating the process.

About David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships

David L. 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 our nation. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

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. An independent not-for-profit founded in 1919, IIE is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and exchange organizations. 

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