Students receive award from U.S. State Department to study abroad

Two University of Alabama Honors College students received the David L. Boren Scholarship for study abroad opportunities for the upcoming academic year.

UA junior Sam Guggenheimer and senior Lauren Marsh were recently awarded the scholarships by the U.S. State Department for their interests in international studies. The scholarship, which awards up to $20,000 funded by the National Security Education Program, is presented to undergraduate and graduate students interested in studying less commonly chosen languages that are deemed important to national security.

Fran Oneal, campus representative for the Boren Scholarship and director of the International Honors Program, said it is a highly sought after award.

“Only 160 recipients were given scholarships this year, and two of those are from Alabama,” she said.

The scholarship not only includes funding for the students to study in underrepresented countries but also provides additional resources and support to aid in their studies.

Guggenheimer plans to use the scholarship to study Turkish in Istanbul, Turkey this coming fall.

“Since my freshman year, I have known that I want to make study abroad a part of my college experience, and this scholarship gives me the opportunity to do that in a unique and meaningful way,” he said.

Marsh will use the Boren Scholarship to study the Mandarin language and Chinese culture at Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu, China.

“To really be effective when working in China, I need to be proficient in the language,” she said. “The Boren will allow me to reach a level of proficiency that would not have been possible without living and studying in China.”

In addition to studying a critical language, the Boren Scholarship requires the students to work with the State Department for a year after graduation. Guggenheimer said he plans to complete his service requirement in the military as a Marine officer. Marsh plans to work with the USAID program in global public health.

Oneal said with the service requirement, the scholarship not only gives students an opportunity to gain experiences now, but also helps them with future careers.

“It really gets students on track to the jobs that they’ll want later,” she said.  “It’s a great opportunity.”

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