Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

Boren Scholarship

Established in 1991, the Boren Undergraduate Scholarship provides funding opportunities for U.S. students to study languages and world regions critical to U.S. interests (including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America & the Caribbean, and the Middle East).

UW 2017-18 Scholars & Alternates:

Isabel Bartholomew, Alternate to South Korea

Sophomore, Linguistics

My name is Isabel Bartholomew, and I am a second-year undergraduate student double-majoring in Korean and Linguistics at the University of Washington. Studying abroad has always been an huge academic goal of mine; thus, I am studying abroad next academic year in South Korea. Studying abroad for a year is a crucial opportunity to build my Korean language skills and regional knowledge while taking courses related to the Korean language, area studies, and linguistics. This would bring me one giant step closer to my long-term goal, which is to work in translation/interpretation or language analysis within the U.S. government. Given present-day American involvement on the Korean peninsula, the United States government is in need of individuals with a deep understanding of the Korean peninsula and expertise in Korean language. Because of my passion for the Korean language, I am interested in Korean-English translation and/or interpretation careers within the federal government and related agencies. I am passionate about these jobs because they fit well with my language skills and interest in the Korean region.

Sarah Leibson, Boren Scholar to South Korea

Senior, Korean and International Studies majors

Well, I’m back at it again with another year in Seoul, South Korea thanks to the David L. Boren Scholarship. Instead of graduating on time with my peers, I decided to extend my UW graduation to study Korean at Yonsei University’s Korean Language Institute for the 2018-2019 academic year. I previously studied at Yonsei University in summer 2015 and then studied at Seoul National University in my junior year and the summer after. While this will be my fourth time going back to South Korea, I can’t wait for what’s in store. In addition to improving my Korean language skills, my personal goals for this upcoming trip include running in the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Run (for the second time!), hiking Hallasan, visiting Ulleungdo, and keeping up my Mandarin skills through studying for the HSK.
After my program in South Korea, I hope to participate in a graduate school program with a focus on International Relations and East Asia or participate in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. I plan to fulfill the scholarship service requirement by working as a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State.

Sarah Rinehart, Boren Scholar to Mozambique

Junior, Public health

Population health is inextricably linked to development and stability of communities. Coming from Iowa, I had a unique opportunity at the age of sixteen to travel to Ecuador on a biology trip and speak with communities in the Amazon about their challenges. The trip caused me to reflection on the interconnections between human health, the environment, and the economy. This prompted a passion for the multidimensional nature of global health issues. It was also on this trip that I first fell in love with foreign language. My knowledge of Spanish helped break down language barriers and allowed a deeper understanding of the communities that I visited. Upon entering the University of Washington, I had begun to learn Portuguese due to my interest in Latin America. With the support of the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, I was able to study Portuguese in relation to global health. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful Portuguese and public health professors at the UW who have been so supportive and ultimately prepared me for this next step in my academic career. With the support of the Boren Scholarship, I am excited to continue my Portuguese and global health education in Mozambique. The scholarship provides a fascinating opportunity to connect my passion for global health and language to US national security priorities. I have confidence that the African Language Flagship Initiative (AFLI) will be invaluable to improving my linguistic abilities and deepening my understanding of Mozambique history and culture. Long-term, I plan to pursue dual medical and public health (MD/ MPH) degrees. I would like to specialize in Pediatrics and focus on initiatives to improve children’s health and wellbeing. In addition to clinical training, the language abilities and knowledge of the region gained through AFLI will prepare me to work in the area of health system strengthening and community based initiatives designed to improve population health in Mozambique.

Ethen Whattam, Boren Scholar to India

Senior, Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

Ethen Whattam is a junior in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. He has had the opportunity to work on research examining the impacts of small-hydropower dams to assisting on identifying the impacts of freshwater crayfish in a river system at UW. In addition, Ethen has been able to intern at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Sequim, WA, researching freshwater swamps and performing ecological restoration, and at Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team. Apart from his academics, Ethen was a founding member of FieldNotes, an environmental research journal, he leads the College of the Environment Student Advisory Council, and he was a founding member of the UW Shellfish Farm. After completing his undergraduate degree, Ethen hopes to pursue a graduate degree then enter into the environmental security field where he can help solve issues at the intersection of freshwater and national security.

Ethen’s tips for future Boren applicants:
Throughout the application process for this scholarship some of the most valuable experiences I had was speaking with a variety of professionals in the field who were able to help me refine my essays and arguments while also illuminating other facets of the issue that I was unaware of. In addition, another experience that was important to me was learning how to construct a narrative that weaved my past experiences with my current passions and why this country and program align with my goals. Through talking with professors, students working at the writing center, and others, I was able to learn from them on how they incorporate narratives into their work. These two experiences were highly valuable to me during the application process for the Boren.

2016-2017 Undergraduate Scholars & Alternates

Zöe Hyra, Alternate

Junior, English major