UGA named a top-performing institution for Boren Scholarships

The University of Georgia’s 2023 Boren Scholars include, left to right, Zakiya McPherson, Siminette Kolodka, Caroline Solomon and Catherine Grizzard. Not pictured is Mariah Cady. (Photo by Stephanie Schupska)

Five UGA undergraduates offered Boren Scholarships in 2023

By Stephanie Schupska, Morehead Honors College

For the third year in a row, the Boren Awards named the University of Georgia a top-performing institution for Boren Scholarships. With five UGA undergraduates selected as Boren Scholars this spring, UGA is ranked in the top five of institutions nationwide.

The UGA students named as Boren Scholars for 2023 will study three different languages—Arabic, Swahili and Russian—in three distinct regions of the world.

UGA has had 94 Boren Scholarship and Fellowship offers to date, and 57 in the last 10 years. The university was also named a top-performing institution for Boren Scholarships in 2021 and 2022.

“Our students are excelling at critical language studies, and we are proud to be among the top institutions for Boren Scholarships,” said Meg Amstutz, dean of the Morehead Honors College. “I am grateful for the support of their faculty and the Office of Global Engagement. The university continues to develop global citizens through its strong commitment to the study of critical languages.”

In 2023, 210 undergraduates across the country received Boren Scholarships, and 108 graduate students received Boren Fellowships. The selected Boren Scholars and Fellows intend to study in 43 countries—with the top countries being Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Japan, Morocco, South Korea, Tanzania and Brazil. They will study 33 different languages; the most popular languages include Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Swahili, Turkish, Japanese and Indonesian.

The Boren Awards are designed to add important international and language components to students’ educations by giving them the opportunity to study overseas in world regions critical to U.S. interests. The national initiative is administered by the Institute of International Education on behalf of the National Security Education Program. Boren recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation in exchange for up to $25,000 in funding.

Boren applicants have the option of designing their own programs or selecting from curated initiatives. This year’s UGA award recipients took full advantage of Boren’s unique offerings, which include initiatives in African, Indonesian, Turkish and South Asian languages, as well as summer-only study for undergraduate STEM majors.

“It has been wonderful to see how the Boren Awards can benefit students in such a variety of disciplines across UGA’s large campus,” said Elizabeth Hughes, student affairs professional in the Morehead Honors College and UGA’s Boren Awards campus representative since 2012. “Our students are experts at incorporating intensive language and cultural study into their academic and professional paths.”

Zakiya McPherson of Des Moines, Iowa, was awarded a Boren Scholarship to study Arabic in Jordan for 8 weeks this summer. She is a first-year student majoring in computer science.

Catherine Grizzard of Harris County was awarded a Boren Scholarship to study Swahili in Tanzania through Boren’s African Flagship Languages Initiative. She is a second-year student majoring in international affairs.

The other three recipients are Boren Flagship Scholars. The Language Flagship provides undergraduates the opportunity to pursue professional-level language proficiency in one of seven critical languages. Programs are directed by nationally recognized leaders and innovators in language education. UGA hosts Language Flagship programs in both Russian and Portuguese.

The following recipients—who are all in UGA’s Russian Flagship Program—were awarded a Boren Scholarship for a capstone year program to study Russian and complete an internship in Kazakhstan.

Siminette Kolodka of Suwanee is a fourth-year student majoring in international affairs, minoring in Russian and pursuing a certificate in global studies.

Caroline Solomon of Marietta is a fourth-year Honors student majoring in Russian and environmental economics and management.

Mariah Cady of Columbus is a fourth-year Honors student and Foundation Fellow majoring in Russian and international affairs and minoring in German, geography and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

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