Undergraduates Megan Cansfield of LSA and Nicholas Theodoracatos of the College of Engineering have been awarded Boren Scholarships for the 2015–16 academic year to help them acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the nation’s security and stability.

David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program, a major federal initiative designed to build a broader, more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.

Megan Cansfield

Nicholas Theodoracatos

In exchange for the funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least one year.

“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 NSEP Director Michael A. Nugent.

Cansfield of Dexter is studying international studies, political science, and Chinese studies. She received $15,850 to study Mandarin at the Beijing Foreign Studies University in Beijing. Her professional interests lie in the field of East Asia foreign policy, and her ultimate career goal is to be a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State.

Theodoracatos is a mechanical engineering student from Rochester Hills. He will study Korean at Yonsei University in Seoul with the  $20,000 he received from the scholarship. He said he sees himself becoming a data analyst for the intelligence community, working to resolve issues around the North-South Korean conflict.

Both students received the full amount they requested.

This year the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received 750 applications from undergraduate students for the Boren Scholarship and 171 were awarded; 385 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship and 101 were awarded.

 Boren scholars and fellows will live in 40 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. They will study 37 different 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 National Security Education Program 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.”

The U-M campus deadline for the next Boren application cycle is Jan. 15, 2016. Undergraduates interested in applying to this scholarship should contact Michael Jordan in the Center for Global and Intercultural Study at micjor@umich.edu.