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UGA sets record for Boren study abroad scholarships

Athens, Ga. – A record-breaking six University of Georgia students have been awarded Boren Scholarships that will enable them to travel abroad to study languages and cultures that are critical to U.S. interests.

Named in honor of former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren, the scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program and offer up to $20,000 for language study abroad. The six scholarships to UGA students-the most given to UGA students in a year-bring UGA’s total number of Boren Scholars to 21 since 2010.

“The Boren Scholarship is quite specialized in its emphasis on national security and government service. The exceptional students I work with are passionate about critical languages and exceedingly prepared to discuss issues of national security, and thus are among the nation’s most competitive applicants for this unique scholarship,” said Elizabeth Hughes Sears, Boren Awards campus representative and a student affairs professional in the Honors Program. “I am inspired, and reassured, by their enormous potential and commitment to making the world safer and more secure.”

UGA’s 2015 Boren Scholarship recipients are:
Brent Buck, a third-year Honors student from Columbus majoring in international affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs and history in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, will study Modern Standard Arabic and the Moroccan dialect at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez, Morocco, before continuing his coursework at the Qalam wa Lawh Center for Arabic Studies in Rabat, also in Morocco.
Melanie Kent, a fourth-year Honors student from Chattanooga, Tennessee, majoring in international affairs in SPIA and minoring in African studies and Arabic in the Franklin College, was awarded a Boren Scholarship to study Swahili in Tanzania through NSEP’s African Flagship Languages Initiative.
Cecelia Kuehnel, a third-year student from Decatur majoring in Arabic and German in the Franklin College, will study Modern Standard Arabic and colloquial Arabic through the Council on International Educational Exchange’s Arabic Language and Culture program at the Princess Sumaya University of Technology in Amman, Jordan.
Katie Mann, a second-year Honors student from Atlanta majoring in international affairs and political science in SPIA and minoring in French and Russian in the Franklin College, will study Russian and take courses in political science and international affairs at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Kevin Steele, a third-year student from Stone Mountain majoring in international affairs in SPIA and Arabic in the Franklin College, will study Modern Standard Arabic and the Jordanian dialect and culture at the Qasid Institute for Classical and Modern Standard Arabic in Amman, Jordan.
Chenee Tracey, a third-year Honors student and Foundation Fellow from Lawrenceville pursuing a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree in international affairs and international policy in SPIA, who was awarded a Boren Scholarship to study Portuguese in Florianopolis, Brazil, before beginning coursework at Universidade de Sao Paulo.

Two UGA students, Bailey Palmer and Leighton Rowell, were named alternates for the scholarship.

The Boren Scholarship was awarded to 171 individuals nationwide in 2015, bringing the total number of scholarships awarded to more than 5,400 since 1994.

“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 Boren, who is currently president of the University of Oklahoma and was the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the Boren Awards during his time in the U.S. Senate. “As we seek to lead through partnerships, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”

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 the United States. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

For more information about the Boren Scholarship, see