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Two U. of I. graduate students receive Boren Fellowships

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — University of Illinois graduate students Eduardo Alvarez-Gutierrez and Ambar Flores have received Boren Fellowships from the National Security Education Program (NSEP). Boren Fellowships provide U.S. graduate students with resources to acquire language skills and experience in regions critical to U.S. national security, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. In exchange for funding, Boren recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

Alvarez-Gutierrez, of Chicago, is a master’s student in South Asian and Middle Eastern studies, and will use the Boren Fellowship to study Arabic at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan. In preparation for his study abroad, he is spending this summer at the Summer Institute for Languages of the Muslim World at the U. of I. Alvarez-Gutierrez plans to pursue a doctorate and a career with the U.S. government.

Flores, of Chicago, is a master’s student in South Asian and Middle Eastern studies, and will use the award to study Arabic at the Center for International Learning in Muscat, Oman. She also will conduct an internship at the Omani Women's Association as part of her plans to study women’s empowerment.

“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,” said Michael A. Nugent, NSEP director.

This year, 385 graduate students from across the country applied for fellowships, and 101 were selected. With two awardees, U. of I. graduate students have had their most successful year ever with the Boren program.

“The NSEP recognizes that national security depends in large part on our developing the linguistic and cultural expertise necessary for understanding life in other parts of the world, and the Boren program contributes significantly to this by helping graduate students immerse themselves in intensive overseas language training,” said Ken Vickery, director of the Office of External Fellowships in the Graduate College. “The fact that the U. of I. has two winners this year is especially exciting, and it’s clear that NSEP places tremendous value on Eduardo’s and Amber’s scholarly and linguistic promise.”

Four U. of I. graduate students were chosen as Boren Fellowships alternates: Benjamin Bamberger (history), Lydia Crafts (history), Kyle Estes (political science), and Caroline Wisler (landscape architecture).

See the Boren website for additional information on the program. 

Reposted from the Illinois News Bureau - 7/7/2015