Five UW-Madison students receive Boren awards for 2016-17 study abroad

Five University of Wisconsin–Madison undergraduates are receiving David L. Boren Scholarships to fund their study abroad during the 2016-17 academic year.

Boren Scholarships 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 Scholarships provide U.S. undergraduate 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 is helping change the U.S. higher education system and the way Americans approach the study of foreign languages and cultures,” says NSEP Director Michael A. Nugent.

Three of the UW–Madison undergraduates receiving Boren Scholarships are students in the Russian Flagship Program, who will be participating in the Overseas Russian Flagship Capstone Program in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for the 2016-17 academic year. They are:

  • Tiara Luckiesh, of Campbellsport, WI, senior majoring in Russian, Spanish, and International Studies
  • Savanna Rutas, of North Aurora, IL, junior majoring in International Studies, and Russian, East Asian Studies Certificate
  • Vera Swanson, of Rochester, MN, senior majoring in Environmental Science, Certificate in Environmental Studies

The Russian Flagship Program, also funded by NSEP, is a rigorous undergraduate program that aims to enable highly motivated undergraduates to achieve a professional-level competence in Russian.

The other UW–Madison recipients are:

  • Nathan Heinrich, of Nashville, TN, senior majoring in Chinese and Economics, going to China through the UW–Madison’s Intensive Chinese Language Program in Tianjin this summer and CIEE Accelerated Chinese Language in Shanghai in the fall.
  • Eric Mueller, of Coffeyville, KN, junior majoring in Political Science, International Studies, and Japanese, going to Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan for 2016-17

The Institute of International Education (IIE), which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, this year awarded Boren Scholarships to 165 undergraduates and Boren Fellowships to 105 graduate students. The recipients come from a pool of 820 undergraduate and 350 graduate applicants.

Boren Scholars and Fellows will live in 41 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. They will study 36 languages. The most popular languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese and Swahili.

“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,” says University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who, as a U.S. senator, was the principal author of the legislation that created the NSEP and the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name.

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

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.

– by Kerry G. Hill