Whitney Howell will study Portuguese in Brazil.

Three U-M graduate students have been awarded the David L. Boren Fellowship for 2017-2018. This year, the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of the National Security Education Program, received 340 graduate applications and awarded only 114 fellowships nationwide.

David L. Boren Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year. The national award is administered on campus by the International Institute.

​“The Boren Fellowship offers graduate students the opportunity to study a wide range of critical languages, while designing a project based on their own academic and professional interests,” explains Beth Dutridge-Corp, Boren Fellowship advisor with the International Institute.  “Those who are invested in applying their language skills and knowledge of a country and culture as part of their career, and who are committed to a career in the federal government, are considered competitive in this competition.”

Sam Farris is a Southeast Asian studies graduate student who will travel to Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok to study Thai. The Chicago native hopes to immerse himself in the language and thanks U-M lecturer Aimkoman Bunmee for her influential Thai course this year.  

Whitney Howell (MPH Health Behavior & Health Education ’18) will study Portuguese in Salvador, Brazil, while also conducting research on the Zika virus. Originally from State College, Pennsylvania, she received her bachelor of arts from Pennsylvania State University in 2011. She is eager to play a role in the development of interventions that can help ensure the health of pregnant women and prevent future outbreaks.  

Kathleen Sly (MPP Ford School ’18) is from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and will study Sinhala and Tamil in Sri Lanka. She hopes to gain a better understanding of the roles culture and language play in post-conflict healing and reconciliation efforts in the island country. 

“These graduate students submitted well-planned project proposals representing diverse fields of study, and they are highly motivated individuals who seek to incorporate language, culture study, and research into their projects and professional goals,” says Dutridge-Corp. “The International Institute is proud to have three outstanding representatives of the University of Michigan selected for this opportunity.”

To learn more about the Boren Fellowship opportunities, or to speak with the Boren advisor, please visit our website.