Three University of Nebraska–Lincoln undergraduates — Alex Christensen, Ethan McDermott and Grant Paisley — have earned the Boren Scholarship to study critical languages.
The National Security Education Program is a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. The NSEP’s Boren Award provides U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with significant funding to acquire language skills and experiences in countries critical to the future security and stability of the nation. In exchange for funding, Boren Award recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least one year. Last year, NSEP received 784 undergraduate applications and funded 217.
Alex Christensen, a senior global studies and geography major from O’Fallon, Illinois, will participate in the South Indian Flagship Languages Initiative for Urdu. During his time at the university, he has been involved in the National Security Club, currently serving on its executive board. He has already studied Urdu, having received a Critical Language Scholarship to study in Lucknow, India, in summer 2019, and will return there for the Boren. Christensen plans to work for the Department of State.
Ethan McDermott is a senior global studies major from Omaha and member of the University Honors Program. He spent time studying abroad in India during high school through a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship. With his Boren award, McDermott will study in Japan for a full academic year through a bilateral exchange with Nanzan University. McDermott has an interest in many aspects of Japanese culture, including kendo, music and origami. He is also interested in working for the federal government.
Grant Paisley is a sophomore global studies and French major from Roselle, Illinois, and member of the Honors Program. He will participate in the African Flagship Language Initiative to continue studying French in Senegal. Paisley, whose father works in the airline industry, has traveled to more than 20 countries and has spent time in Senegal. In summer 2015, he volunteered in Senegal on a sustainable farm and at a school, Project Beer Sheba. The Beer Sheba team is experimenting with small-scale farming techniques to develop farming systems that are both productive and responsive to the local ecosystem. Paisley plans to work for the Department of State.