Six Pitt Students Receive 2011 David L. Boren Awards for International Study

Issue Date: 
July 18, 2011

Four University of Pittsburgh Honors College students—Stacey Stachera, Russell Ottalini, Lorraine Keeler, and Cody Dickerson—have received 2011 David L. Boren Scholarships, and Pitt School of Law student Sarah Paulsworth and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) student Ashley Fitzgerald have been awarded 2011 David L. Boren Fellowships, all for international study. Stachera and Fitzgerald will study in Tanzania, Ottalini in Japan, Keeler in Brazil, Dickerson in China, and Paulsworth in Kazakhstan.

For the third 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 the undergraduate Boren Scholarship. This year, 944 undergraduate students applied for the Boren Scholarship, and 152 were awarded, and 625 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship, and 117 were awarded.

This is the ninth consecutive year that at least one Pitt student has been awarded the honor. Since 1997, 26 Pitt students have received Boren Scholarships and 17 graduate students have received Boren Fellowships.

Stachera, from Erie, Pa., will be a senior at Pitt this fall, majoring in political science with a concentration in international relations. She also is working to earn certificates in African studies and global studies. Stachera is studying Swahili this fall at the State University of Zanzibar. Her future plans include graduating from Pitt with a BA degree, fulfilling her Boren service requirement with the Department of State or USAID, and earning a master’s degree in international development or peace and conflict resolution.

Ottalini, a Pitt junior from Silver Spring, Md., is majoring in Japanese and sociology. He is studying Japanese at Sophia University in Tokyo for the coming academic year. He intends to study the language along with Japanese lifestyles in urban and traditional contexts while abroad. Upon completion of his Pitt degree, Ottalini plans to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in either urban studies or international studies.

Keeler, from Seattle, Wash., will be a junior at Pitt this fall, majoring in environmental studies with minors in Latin and Portuguese. She will be participating in two programs in Brazil next year, the first semester in Belém and the greater Amazon region, and the second in Salvador da Bahia. Keeler hopes to graduate from Pitt with a BPhil degree incorporating her majors and the research conducted this summer and in Brazil. After completing the required government service in the EPA, she will pursue a master’s degree in public policy and a PhD degree in sustainability/environmental policy.

Dickerson, from Plattsburg, Mo., will be a Pitt junior this fall, majoring in religious studies and preparing to begin work toward a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in international and area studies. Dickerson will spend the fall semester at Beijing Foreign Studies University focusing on language acquisition and the second semester at Yunnan Nationalities University in Kunming where he will study both the Chinese language and Chinese minority policies. After earning his Pitt degree, Dickerson plans to fulfill his service requirement in the U.S. Department of State. He hopes to use that experience to shape his plans for graduate school with the ultimate goal of becoming a foreign service officer.

Paulsworth, a second-year Pitt law student from Fairless Hills, Pa., is a JD candidate working on certificates in comparative and international law and Russian and Eastern European studies. Her Boren award includes both domestic study and study-abroad components. During the summer, she will be studying at the Indiana University-Bloomington in the Summer Workshop for Slavic, Eastern European, and Central Asian Languages and in intensive Kazakh classes. She will then travel to Kazakhstan to take part in the Eurasian Regional Language Program and work on her Boren Fellowship project, “The Legal Framework for Ethnic Stability in Kazakhstan.” The project includes language study, research, and the composition of a scholarly paper. Paulsworth plans to pursue a career with the U.S. government working on legal issues related to human rights and humanitarian law.

Fitzgerald, a second year GSPIA graduate student from Seattle, Wash., is majoring in human security with a minor in security and intelligence studies. She is working on a master’s degree in public and international affairs with a graduate certificate in African studies. Her research interests are in African development, conflict resolution, and U.S. intelligence and security policy. As a Boren Fellow, Fitzgerald will be living in Tanzania for one year, taking a Pitt sponsored Swahili language and cultural immersion program in Karagwe, Tanzania, in the summer. She also will spend a semester on the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania, involving a home-stay with a Swahili-speaking family and taking language courses at the State University of Zanzibar, as well as independent graduate research on conflict mitigation in East Africa. Upon completion of her Boren Fellowship, Fitzgerald plans to work in the field of conflict resolution on behalf of the United States government.

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 development 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.