Four Pitt Students Receive 2012 David L. Boren Awards for International Study

Issue Date: 
July 9, 2012

Three students from the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences—Noah Haibach, Arielle Ross, and Devani Whitehead—have received 2012 David L. Boren Scholarships, and Pitt School of Law and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) student Lauren McChesney has been awarded a 2012 David L. Boren Fellowship, all for international study. This is the second year in a row that the law school has had a Boren fellow. Haibach will study in Turkey, Ross in Israel, Whitehead in Brazil, and McChesney in Peru.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), received a record number of applications for both the undergraduate Boren Scholarship and the graduate Boren Fellowship. This year, 1,014 undergraduate students applied for the Boren Scholarship, with 161 awarded, and 575 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship, with 119 awarded.

This is the 10th consecutive year that at least one Pitt student has been awarded the honor. Since 1997, 29 Pitt students have received Boren Scholarships and 19 graduate students have received Boren Fellowships.

Haibach, from Forest Hills, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pa., will be a Pitt senior this fall, majoring in mathematics and economics. He will spend one year at Bogazici University in Istanbul, attending the Summer Language and Cultural Program for accelerated Turkish language and, the following two semesters, will take classes in Turkish, international trade, and statistics. He also plans to do an internship with an international trade-consulting firm. His future plans include graduating from Pitt with a BS degree, fulfilling his Boren service requirement with the U.S. Department of State or Department of Defense, and earning a master’s degree in either econometrics or applied statistics.

Ross, a Pitt senior from Buffalo, N.Y., is majoring in political science and international relations with a minor in German. In addition, Ross holds certificates in Arabic, Jewish, and Global Studies. Ross will receive a BA degree from Pitt next year. With her Boren, she will be spending the year in Israel in Arab villages around the Mount Carmel and Wadi Ara region, studying modern standard and colloquial (Palestinian dialect) Arabic. Upon completion of her Pitt degree, Ross plans to fulfill her Boren service requirement through the U.S. Department of State or Department of Defense in work that involves national security.

Whitehead, a New York City resident who was raised in Bear, Del., will be a Pitt senior this fall, majoring in communication with a minor in Portuguese. With her Boren, she will study Portuguese and communication at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. Whitehead hopes to obtain an internship with a non-governmental organization working with children and teaching them English. She will graduate from Pitt with a BS degree next year. To fulfill her required government service, Whitehead plans to work for the U.S. Department of State.

McChesney, from Upper Marlboro, Md., is a joint-degree student who will be graduating with a JD from Pitt’s School of Law and a master’s degree in international development from Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She will take part in a 10-month project in Urubamba, Peru, that will focus on linguistic and cultural immersion within a Quechua-speaking community as well as volunteering in projects to address sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, and economic development. McChesney will collaborate with her Quechua professor, a native Quechua-speaking tutor, and Nexos Voluntarios, a nonprofit organization in Peru. The collaborations will allow McChesney to engage in projects to help educate the indigenous population of Urubamba. Her objectives are to attain fluency in Quechua, to use her skills and educational background to improve the lives of community members, and to strengthen American national security by elevating the United States’ reputation abroad and the effectiveness of U.S. developmental aid programs.

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by NSEP, a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. Boren Awards provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with the resources and encouragement 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 a period of at least one year following graduation.

The mission of NSEP, established by the National Security Education Act of 1991, is to develop the national capacity for educating U.S. citizens, understanding foreign cultures, strengthening U.S. economic competitiveness, and enhancing international cooperation and security.

The Boren Scholarship is named for David L. Boren, principal author of the legislation that created NSEP in 1991. Boren served as the governor of Oklahoma from 1974 to 1978 and as a U.S. senator from Oklahoma from 1979 to 1994. He currently serves as the president of the University of Oklahoma. Boren is widely respected for his academic credentials, his longtime support for education, and his distinguished political career as a reformer in the American political system.