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Five students at Illinois win Boren Scholarships for study abroad

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Five students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have earned National Security Education Program (NSEP) Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for study abroad during the 2004-05 academic year.

“This represents our best showing ever in this competition, and it speaks to the quality of the international education at Illinois,” said David Schug, who heads the campus’s Scholarships for International Study Office. “I am extremely pleased with both the quality and quantity of our applicants this year, he said, noting that a record number of students – 22 – applied for the scholarships. “From that strong pool, seven were named finalists in the national competition, including the five awardees and two alternates.

The scholarship recipients: Rene Bangert and Jason Outlaw, Chicago; Matthew Donahoe, St. Charles, Ill.; Cayse Llorens, Urbana, Ill; and a student who requested anonymity.

The merit-based scholarships are awarded to U.S. citizens for study in Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America or the Middle East. The Illinois students are among 181 recipients from a national applicant pool of more than 860. Each scholarship winner will receive between $6,000 and $20,000 to support his or her studies, depending on the cost of the selected study-abroad program and financial need.

Scholarship recipients enter into a service agreement that requires them to seek employment in a paid position with the federal government in the broadly defined area of national security within eight years of returning to the United States. They also receive priority-hiring status.

Bangert, a sophomore majoring in international studies, plans to spend a year in Ecuador, where she will participate in a U. of I. program at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. She is interested in international development issues and hopes to join the Peace Corps. After receiving a graduate degree, she plans to pursue a career with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Outlaw, a senior pursuing dual degrees in sociology and urban and regional planning, will study for a year in the Intensive Arabic Language Program at the American University in Cairo. His previous study-abroad experience includes a semester in Sheffield, England, and a summer term in Bangkok. Upon his return from Egypt, Outlaw plans to enroll in a master’s degree program in international development planning to prepare for a career with USAID.

Donahoe, a sophomore majoring in history and economics, plans to continue coursework in those areas and study Arabic while studying for a year at the American University in Cairo. After graduating from Illinois, Donahoe intends to pursue graduate studies in Middle Eastern and African history, and aspires to work in the U.S. Foreign Service, or as a political analyst in the U.S. intelligence community.

Llorens, a senior pursuing dual degrees in Spanish and computer engineering, is delaying his graduation for a year in order to take advantage of the opportunity to study for a year in Mexico. The senior, who previously studied for a year in Granada, Spain, will participate in a U. of I. exchange program at the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara. There, he plans to enroll in computer engineering courses taught in Spanish. After acquiring an advanced degree in electrical engineering at Illinois, he hopes to work as a cryptanalyst with the National Security Agency.

More information on the NSEP Boren undergraduate scholarship program is available by contacting Schug.