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U. of I. student, recent graduate win awards for study abroad

6/24/2009 | Sharita Forrest, News Editor, 217-244-1072;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Emily Pinheiro, of Champaign, a junior at the University of Illinois, has been awarded a Boren Undergraduate Scholarship for study in Ecuador, and John P. Kim, of Evanston, a 2009 graduate of Illinois, has been awarded a Language Flagship Fellowship to study Korean in the recent National Security Education Program competition.

The merit-based Boren scholarships are awarded to U.S. citizens for study in Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America or the Middle East. Scholarship and fellowship winners receive between $6,000 and $30,000 to support their studies, depending on the cost of the proposal. Award winners agree to seek a paid position with the federal government in the area of national security for a minimum of one year after graduation. They receive priority-hiring status from agencies such as the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and branches of the intelligence community.

The Language Flagship Fellowship is designed to help students become fluent in a foreign language – Arabic, Chinese, Hindi/Urdu, Korean, Persian, or Eurasian languages (Russian, Central Asian or Turkic languages) – through innovative campus curricula and immersion. The awards, which are for up to two years, support academic expenses directly associated with participation, such as tuition and travel, and provide stipends for living expenses.

Pinheiro, a student in the Campus Honors Program majoring in economics at Illinois, will study economic development in Ecuador during the 2009-2010 academic year.

The program comprises a 15-week internship on microfinance and an individualized research experience, during which Pinheiro plans to study the effects of culture on business. After graduation, Pinheiro plans to pursue an advanced degree in economics to prepare for a career with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Kim, who graduated with a degree in political science and international studies in 2009, also studied Korean at Illinois, and received a Language Flagship Fellowship to study Korean at the University of Hawaii Manoa and at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. Kim spent one year in Seoul and a summer in Caracas, Venezuela, as an English teacher. He plans to work for the federal government as a foreign service officer.

Latin America is perhaps the most competitive region for Boren Scholarships and Fellowships, said David Schug, co-director of the Office of Prestigious Scholarships. “It is a tribute to our students that their applications were so successful.”

“John Kim is the first Illinois student to have earned a Language Flagship Fellowship,” said Laura Hastings, co-director of the Office of Prestigious Scholarships. “We think Illinois does a great job preparing these students to be global professionals.”

Hasan Shahid, of Springfield, a graduate student in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, was offered a Boren Graduate Fellowship but declined to accept another award.

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