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Three UNG students earn Boren Scholarships

April 29, 2020

Three University of North Georgia (UNG) students will gain valuable language experience in the next academic year thanks to the Boren Scholarship.

Rachel Wilson will become the first UNG student to use a Boren to study at the new Chinese Flagship Domestic Immersion Capstone at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California. Elias Keif, who is also part of UNG's Chinese Language Flagship, will use the Boren to help fund his capstone year in Taiwan. Phillip Ly will study Japanese language, art history and popular culture courses in Kyoto, Japan.

Wilson, a senior from Stone Mountain, Georgia, pursuing a finance degree and a minor in Chinese, pays for her own education, so the Boren allows her to afford the year in California. She hopes to learn about government job opportunities and better position herself for a National Security Agency internship.

"When speaking a second language, I am a lot more outgoing," Wilson said. "As I will be under a language pledge for an entire year, I see it as an opportunity to explore this other side of myself and to get to know the culture and language on an even deeper level."

Ly, a cadet pursuing a strategic and security studies degree with a language concentration in Japanese, is the second UNG student to go to Japan on a Boren. He aims to one day be a U.S. Foreign Service officer.

"I am looking forward to finally being able to study Japanese in its native environment," said Ly, a sophomore from Forest Park, Georgia. "I am excited to explore everything I've ever dreamed about Japan, and I am also excited about the connections I'll make there."

Keif, a senior pursuing a degree in East Asian studies with a concentration in Chinese and a minor in Chinese Flagship, is eager for his year abroad and how it will set him up for his goal of working with the federal government.

"My hope is to use the opportunity afforded to me by Boren to improve my Chinese language skills to the point where they are usable within a professional environment," said Keif, who is from Cumming, Georgia, and will participate in an internship while abroad.

The Boren Scholarship pays up to $20,000 for students to spend up to a full academic year to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests. The students also head to regions underrepresented in study abroad, such as Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In exchange, the recipients commit to work in the federal government for at least one year after graduation and receive help from the Boren office in finding those positions. 

All three UNG students are previous winners of nationally competitive scholarships:

For more information on nationally competitive scholarships like the Boren and Fulbright, email ncs@ung.edu.

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