Students Receive NSEP Boren Scholarships

International relations major Elizabeth Leader ’09 and government and legal studies major Asena May ’09 have been selected to receive the National Security Education Program (NSEP) Boren Undergraduate Scholarships. A total of 141 NSEP awards were offered from a pool of more than 700 applications.

The David L. Boren National Security Education Program was established by Congress in the aftermath of the Cold War. The program provides outstanding and highly motivated U.S. students with funding that supports acquiring language skills and cultural experience in countries critical to the future security of our nation, in exchange for a commitment to work in the federal government.

Leader won a $10,000 award and will study in Vietnam through the School for International Training’s (SIT) Culture and Development Program.

“SIT created the infrastructure for the Peace Corps and, accordingly, its programs are unique in the particular emphasis they place on experiential learning,” Leader says. “My program will be based primarily out of Ho Chi Minh City, but will involve extensive travel, language study and a three-week home-stay.”

Leader says the theme of the programCulture and Developmentalso will entail evaluating the challenges Vietnam faces as it pursues economic modernization. “I am confident that, as state-control and free enterprise continue to compete in Vietnam, I will learn important lessons that will serve my better understanding of other third-world nations as they begin to emerge in an increasingly interrelated and ever-shrinking world,” she says.

The College’s second NSEP scholarship recipient, Asena May, is fluent in Turkish and will use her $20,000 award to defray the costs of attending Bogazici University in Istanbul for the 2007-2008 academic year.

“I will be concentrating on Middle Eastern affairs and politics while conducting research for a professor on Kurdish/Turkish relations in the southern region of Turkey,” May says. Her eventual plans include law school, work in the U.S. Department of State to fulfill scholarship stipulations, and a U.S. foreign-service assignment in the Middle East.

For now, though, she says it will be hard to be away from campus for a year. “However,” she notes, “this is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am eagerly looking forward to it.”

As for Leader’s future plans, shelike Maysays her scholarship also stipulates that she begin work with the U.S. Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, or the intelligence community, within three years of graduating.

“Since I have long considered a career in public service, I am thrilled by the prospect of a guaranteed job with the federal government,” she says.

Both Leader and May will attend a convocation, ceremony, and orientation in Washington, D.C., this month, to accept the scholarship and prepare for life abroad.