Seven UW-Madison students awarded Boren Scholarships, Fellowships

Four University of Wisconsin–Madison undergraduates are receiving David L. Boren Scholarships to fund their study abroad during the 2013-14 academic year. Also, three UW–Madison graduate students are receiving 2013-14 Boren Fellowships to support their dissertation research and language study overseas.

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a federal initiative designed to broaden the pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.

Boren Awards 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 nation. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work for at least one year in a federal government position with national security responsibilities.

“The National Security Education Program represents an essential component of a comprehensive national security strategy to address serious and long-time deficiencies in critical language expertise,” says NSEP Director Michael A. Nugent.

UW–Madison graduate students receiving Boren Fellowships are:

  • Anthony Medrano, of Brookings Harbor, OR, history, doing research in Malaysia and studying Malay
  • Amy Porter, of Madison, WI, educational policy studies, doing research in Senegal and studying Wolof
  • Brett Reilly, of Buffalo, NY, history, doing research in Vietnam and studying Vietnamese

UW–Madison undergraduates receiving Boren Scholarships are:

  • Meagan Dunham, senior from Middleton, WI, majoring in international studies and Russian, going to Russia to study Russian
  • Lydia Greve, junior from Baraboo, WI, majoring in political science, and language and cultures of Asia, going to India to study Hindi
  • Cole Schultz, freshman from Morgan, MN, majoring in international studies, going to South Korea to study Korean
  • Johnna Sundberg, senior from Minnetrista, MN, majoring in political science, going to Tanzania and Kenya to study Swahili

Also, Nicole Davis, a senior from Grantsburg, WI, who is majoring in botany and biology, has been selected as a Boren Scholarship alternative. She is seeking to go to Turkey to study Turkish.

This year, the Institute of International Education (IIE), which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, awarded Boren Scholarships to 161 undergraduates and Boren Fellowships to 110 graduate students.

Collectively, these Boren Scholars and Fellows will study 34 languages while living in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The most popular languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Swahili, and Portuguese.

“Never in our history has it been more important for America’s future leaders to have a deep understanding of the rest of the world,” says University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who, as a U.S. senator, was the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name.

“As we seek to lead through partnerships, respect for and understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential,” Boren says.

Since 1994, more than 5,000 students have received Boren awards. Today, many alumni are contributing to the critical missions of agencies throughout the federal government.

For more information, visit the Boren Scholarships and Fellowships website,

At UW–Madison, Matt Geisler, assistant director of International Academic Programs, serves as the campus representative for the Boren Scholarships. Undergraduate students who want to learn more about applying for the scholarship may contact him at, or 608-265-6329.

Erin Crawley, the International Fellowships Advisor, is the campus representative for the Boren Fellowships. Graduate students who want to learn more about applying for the fellowship may contact her at or 608-262-9632.

– by Kerry G. Hill