Five undergraduate students from the University of Georgia (UGA) have been awarded prestigious Boren Scholarships in 2023, marking the third consecutive year that UGA has been recognized as a top-performing institution for these scholarships. The university’s outstanding performance has positioned it among the top five institutions nationwide.

The five UGA students selected as Boren Scholars for 2023 will be studying Arabic, Swahili, and Russian, each focusing on a different region of the world. This diverse range of languages and regions reflects UGA’s commitment to providing comprehensive language education opportunities to its students.

Over the years, UGA has received a total of 94 Boren Scholarship and Fellowship offers, with 57 of them being awarded in the past decade alone. The university’s dedication to promoting critical language studies has consistently earned it recognition as a top-performing institution for Boren Scholarships, not only in 2023 but also in previous years, such as 2021 and 2022.

Dean Meg Amstutz of the Morehead Honors College expressed her pride in UGA’s students for excelling in critical language studies and acknowledged the support provided by the faculty and the Office of Global Engagement. She emphasized the university’s commitment to nurturing global citizens through its robust programs focused on the study of critical languages.

The 2023 Boren Scholarships were awarded to 210 undergraduate students across the United States, while 108 graduate students received Boren Fellowships. These scholars and fellows will be studying in 43 countries, with popular destinations including Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Japan, Morocco, South Korea, Tanzania, and Brazil. They will also be immersing themselves in 33 different languages, with Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Swahili, Turkish, Japanese, and Indonesian being among the most popular choices.

The Boren Awards aim to enhance students’ educational experiences by incorporating international and language components into their studies. This is achieved by offering them the opportunity to study abroad in regions of the world that are of critical importance to U.S. interests. Administered by the Institute of International Education on behalf of the National Security Education Program, the Boren Awards require recipients to commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation, in exchange for funding of up to $25,000.

Applicants for the Boren Awards have the flexibility to design their own programs or choose from a range of curated initiatives. The recipients from UGA in 2023 took full advantage of the unique opportunities offered by Boren, including initiatives focused on African, Indonesian, Turkish, and South Asian languages, as well as specialized summer programs for undergraduate students in STEM fields.

Elizabeth Hughes, a student affairs professional in the Morehead Honors College and UGA’s Boren Awards campus representative since 2012, expressed her enthusiasm for the wide range of disciplines represented among the Boren Award recipients at UGA. She highlighted how these students expertly integrate intensive language and cultural studies into their academic and professional paths.

One of the recipients, Zakiya McPherson from Des Moines, Iowa, received a Boren Scholarship to study Arabic in Jordan for eight weeks during the summer. Zakiya is a first-year student majoring in computer science.

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

The remaining three recipients are Boren Flagship Scholars, participating in the Language Flagship program at UGA. The Language Flagship program provides undergraduates with the opportunity to achieve professional-level language proficiency in one of seven critical languages. UGA hosts Language Flagship programs for both Russian and Portuguese.

Siminette Kol

odka from Suwanee, a fourth-year student majoring in international affairs with a minor in Russian and a certificate in global studies, received a Boren Scholarship for a capstone year program. She will study Russian and complete an internship in Kazakhstan.

Caroline Solomon from Marietta, a fourth-year Honors student majoring in Russian and environmental economics and management, was also awarded a Boren Scholarship for the capstone year program.

Mariah Cady from Columbus, a fourth-year Honors student and Foundation Fellow majoring in Russian and international affairs with minors in German, geography, and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), is the third recipient in UGA’s Russian Flagship Program to receive a Boren Scholarship for the capstone year program.

UGA’s consistent success in securing Boren Scholarships highlights its commitment to fostering language proficiency and global citizenship among its students. By providing opportunities for immersive language study and international experiences, UGA equips its students with the skills and knowledge needed to make meaningful contributions to national security and global affairs.