Miranda Kuzela of Bellevue, a University of Nebraska–Lincoln senior majoring in Russian, political science, global studies and Spanish, has earned a Boren Scholarship to study abroad this summer and fall.
Kuzela will attend the School of Russian and Asian Studies’ Central Asian Studies Program in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to improve her Russian language skills.
Kuzela studied Russian intensively before coming to college and while at Nebraska. She received a Critical Language Scholarship in 2017 to attend an intensive Russian language program in Vladimir, Russia, and a Gilman Scholarship in 2018 to participate in an American Councils program to study Russian in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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. NSEP’s Boren Awards program provides U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with significant funding to acquire language skills and experience 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. This year, NSEP received 851 undergraduate applications and funded 244.
Kuzela said she applied for the Boren Scholarship because she wanted to spend a longer period abroad than she had previously. Her experiences in Kazakhstan through the Gilman Scholarship influenced her decision to return to Central Asia. The region is of interest to U.S. national security because Central Asian countries have the potential to be strong allies to the United States or fall under Russian influence. During her time in Kyrgyzstan, Kuzela will be able to study the language intensively, as the country uses Russian as a lingua franca — a common language among speakers whose native languages are different.
The Central Asian Studies Program combines intensive language or linguistics study with a wide range of courses on regional studies at the London School of Languages and Cultures in Bishkek. Kuzela will combine a five-week summer session with the fall session, staying in the country for the equivalent of an academic year.
When she returns to the United States, Kuzela plans to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Russia.