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Four U. of I. students awarded study-abroad scholarships

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Four students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have earned National Security Education Program (NSEP) Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for study abroad during the 2006-07 academic year.

“Over the past five years, Illinois has been among the national leaders in numbers of recipients for Boren Undergraduate Scholarships, and this year will match the most students we have ever sent abroad under this grant,” said David Schug, program director of the campus’s Scholarships for International Study Office. “This is a testament to the strong study abroad programs and international emphasis at Illinois.”

The scholarship recipients are Kyle Arnold, Batavia, Ill.; Sara Hislop, Montgomery, Ill.; Rachel Sauer, Centralia, Ill.; and Alyssa Walsh, Fairbanks, Alaska.

The merit-based scholarships are awarded to U.S. citizen undergraduates for study in Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America or the Middle East. The Illinois students are among 141 recipients from a national applicant pool of 720. 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. In total, the four University of Illinois recipients earned more than $72,000 in funding.

Scholarship recipients enter into a service agreement that generally requires them to seek employment in a paid position with the federal government in the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, or the Intelligence Community within three years of graduating from Illinois. They also receive priority-hiring status from these agencies.

Arnold, a senior pursuing dual degrees in engineering physics and mathematics, will spend the year at Konan University through the year-in Japan program offered by the U. of I. department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. He has taken three Japanese courses at Illinois, in addition to his major classes. Arnold hopes to eventually earn a doctorate and conduct physics research in quantum information and quantum computing, which are applicable to cryptography.

Hislop, a junior majoring in international studies, plans to continue course work for her minor in anthropology and her study of Arabic while spending a year at the American University in Cairo. She previously spent her junior year of high school studying in Portugal. After her year of immersion in Egypt, Hislop plans a career as a foreign-service officer in focusing on the U.S. relationship with Middle Eastern countries.

Sauer, a senior majoring in political science and international studies, will spend a year in Senegal studying issues related to development. Sauer, who is also fluent in Spanish and spends her summers teaching Spanish language and culture at Concordia Language Village, plans to attend law school upon her return to the U.S. before undertaking a career as a foreign affairs officer or human rights lawyer.

Walsh, a sophomore majoring in international studies, will study for a year at the American University in Cairo. She has a longstanding interest in international relations and desire to work for the federal government as a foreign-service officer or language analyst. In Egypt, Walsh plans to pursue intensive Arabic study while also undertaking coursework relating to Middle Eastern politics, history, religion, and anthropology in preparation for her career in the intelligence community.

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