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Nine UGA students receive foreign language scholarships

Athens, Ga. – Nine University of Georgia students will enhance their language skills abroad this summer through two federally funded scholarship programs.

Two UGA Honors students received Boren Scholarships, which are funded by the National Security Education Program and offer up to $20,000 for language study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests. Seven additional students received awards from the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program and will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes abroad.

“I am so pleased that our students continue to be highly competitive for these prestigious and important awards,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of UGA’s Honors Program. “I know that they will take full advantage of the immersive experiences that the Boren and Critical Language scholarship programs offer, and more than justify this investment in their abilities and futures.”

The 2013 Boren Scholarship recipients are:
Alice Naghshineh, a sophomore from Marietta majoring in Arabic, economics and mathematics; and
Cal Thomas, a junior from Martinez majoring in international relations and linguistics.

Naghshineh will study at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, where she will be taking Arabic classes and courses in the field of Islamic finance. Thomas will study in Jordan through the Area and Arabic Language Studies program offered by AMIDEAST, an American non-profit organization. He also will be taking Arabic classes and courses in Middle Eastern politics at the Qasid Arabic Institute.

The 2013 Critical Language Scholars, along with their hometowns, majors, languages of study and host nation, are:
Adhiti Bandlamudi, a freshman Honors student from Acworth majoring in journalism and Arabic who will study Arabic in Oman;
Victoria Barker, a sophomore Honors student from Suwanee majoring in international affairs and Russian who will study Russian in Russia;
Yuliya Bila, a junior Honors student from Canton majoring in international affairs, Spanish and Russian who will study Russian in Russia;
Alison Mintz, a political science and international affairs doctoral candidate from Raleigh, N.C. who will study Russian in Russia;
Robin Reid, an anthropology doctoral candidate from Spokane, Wash. who will study Japanese in Japan;
Harriera Siddiq, a senior Honors student from Snellville majoring in international affairs who will study Urdu in India; and
Megan White, a sophomore Honors student from Alpharetta majoring in international affairs and linguistics who will study Russian in Russia.

Boren Scholarships are named in honor of David L. Boren, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1994 and is the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the Boren Awards. UGA’s Boren Scholarship recipients were among 161 nationwide to receive the award. Boren Scholarships 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.

Naghshineh is the head MathCounts coach at Burney Harris Lyons Middle School in Athens, is a volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club and is a member of Habitat for Humanity. She will study Arabic in Morocco this summer through UGA’s intensive Arabic May semester program in preparation for her studies through her Boren program. Through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, Naghshineh is currently researching liquidity management within Islamic finance under her mentor, Berrak Bahadir, an assistant professor of economics in the Terry College of Business.

“I am honored to be a Boren Scholar,” she said. “I have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study Islamic finance at a university that excels in this area while advancing my Arabic skills in the business hub of the Middle East-the United Arab Emirates. I will be working with the director of the Islamic Banking and Finance Program to conduct research, and I’m excited to share what I learn with my peers and professors here at UGA and, of course, our government.”

Thomas is active in the Beta Upsilon Chi Christian fraternity and is the principal bassoonist for University Philharmonia. His other on-campus activities include participating in events and activities sponsored by the Abraham Alliance, the Muslim Student Association, the Arab Cultural Association and Athens for Justice in Palestine.

“I am honored to be a 2013 NSEP Boren Scholarship recipient,” he said. “These past three years at the University of Georgia have helped me pinpoint my passions for the Arabic language and political development in the developing world. As a Boren Scholar, I will now have the unique opportunity to pursue and merge these two passions of mine in the Middle East in order to have a deeper understanding of the region and prepare myself for a career in Middle Eastern affairs and diplomacy.”

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. The UGA recipients are among the approximately 610 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a scholarship from the CLS Program in 2013. CLS participants will attend intensive language institutes this summer in one of 13 countries to study Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish or Urdu. The CLS Program is administered by American Councils for International Education and the Ohio State University/Ohio University.

For more information about the Boren Scholarship, see For more information about the CLS Program see