Skip to main content

BYU Is Second in the Nation for Boren Scholarships

This year's ten Boren recipients. Top, left to right: Carter Adams, Andrew Bonney, Sean Cameron, Gio Guanuna, and Nicholas Heil. Bottom, left to right: Curtis Hoffmann, Anna McConkie, Brynn Morse, Zachariah Qureshi and Jace Watt.

We are pleased to announce that ten BYU students have received Boren scholarships this year. This makes the university one of the top-performing institutions for the year in the US, ranking #2 for Boren scholarships and #3 for Boren awards overall.

These prestigious awards, named for Senator David L. Boren and administered by the National Security Education Program, provide funding for US students to go abroad to study languages and cultures, particularly languages and cultures that are critical to US national interests (read more about Boren Awards here).

This year’s winners represent a wide range of language interests and areas of study.

  • Carter Adams (Computer Science) received a scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan.
  • Andrew Bonney (Middle East Studies/Arabic) received a scholarship to study Turkish in Azerbaijan.
  • Sean Cameron (Linguistics and Chinese) received a scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan.
  • Gio Guanuna (Chemical Engineering) received a scholarship to study Arabic in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Nicholas Heil (Middle East Studies/Arabic) received a scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco.
  • Curtis Hoffmann (Microbiology) received a scholarship to study Thai in Thailand.
  • Anna McConkie (Experience Design and Management) received a scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan.
  • Brynn Morse (Middle East Studies/Arabic) received a scholarship to study Arabic in Jordan.
  • Zachariah Qureshi (Middle East Studies/Arabic) received a scholarship to study Arabic in Jordan.
  • Jace Watt (Geography) received a scholarship to study Swahili in Tanzania.

An Immersive Experience

Zachariah Qureshi looks forward to the experiences that the scholarship will make possible for him. "It offers an immersive experience to enhance my language skills and cultural understanding, and will foster further personal growth for me as I live and study in Jordan," he says.

The scholarship will, he says, be an important stepping stone on his journey toward his professional goals. "The Boren Award will significantly impact my future educational and professional plans by providing me with the skills and experiences necessary to pursue a career in international finance and development," he says. "With a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern culture and fluency in Arabic, I will be well-positioned to work as an economic officer in the Foreign Service, a program officer for USAID, or within the U.S. Development Finance Corporation. My hope is that my experiences in one of those positions would better position me to fulfill my long-term career goals in venture capital/startup ecosystem in emerging Middle Eastern markets."

Applying for Boren Awards

BYU students have long performed very well in the competitive application process, with the school frequently ranking among the top universities in the nation for Boren scholarships (and ranking #1 in the nation last year—read more about this incredible accomplishment in Bridges magazine). This is due in large part to the Kennedy Center’s focus on helping students prepare their applications and to the hard work of James Mayo, scholarships coordinator at the Kennedy Center.

“Over the past five years, the Kennedy Center has worked directly with applicants to make sure that they are competitive on a national level,” says Mayo. “We know these students are amazing and that they have the interest in language-learning that Boren is looking for. What we strive to do at the Kennedy Center is to help every applicant present those amazing qualities in their application in a way that will help the selection committee realize the unique caliber of BYU students, their language-learning interests and skills, and what they ultimately have to offer in their future careers.”

He also points out that the list of 2023 recipients clearly demonstrates the interest that the federal government has in a wide variety of languages. “For students who are interested in continuing (or even beginning) their study of a less-commonly taught language, Boren is a golden opportunity," he says. "Portuguese, Turkish, Swahili, Hindi, Urdu, Indonesian . . . the list goes on and on. Anyone interested in languages outside of western Europe should look into applying for Boren.”

Want to learn more about these scholarships and how you could apply? Click here or e-mail James Mayo.