CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign graduate student Maxine Katz and undergraduates Neel Khattri, Kellie Sucha and Tina Wayne have received prestigious Boren Awards for study abroad during the 2023-24 academic year.
David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are funded by the National Security Education Program, a federal initiative designed to increase U.S. expertise in languages and cultures in world regions critical to U.S. interests. The awards provide U.S. graduate and undergraduate students with an opportunity for intensive language study and cultural immersion.
Maxine Katz of Chicago is a master’s student in religion and a 2022-23 Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow for Hindi with the U. of I.’s Center for Global Studies. Katz will study Hindi through Boren’s South Asian Flagship Languages Initiative, beginning with a summer program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by a year at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India.
Katz studies Hinduism and Jainism and the experiences of Hindu and Jain practitioners throughout India’s history. She also is an avid painter and plans to take Indian painting method classes during her year abroad. She hopes to work for the U.S. government before pursuing doctoral studies in religion.
Neel Khattri of Cupertino, Calif., is a senior in computer engineering who will graduate in December. He will spend a semester studying Russian at the Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic.
Khattri is an Army ROTC cadet, and he plans to commission in December. He has interned for both military and civilian entities as a software developer, cybersecurity researcher and consultant. He hopes to pursue a career in cybersecurity for the U.S. government. Khattri said his study abroad will supplement his technical background with cultural knowledge and help him in his career to build a bridge between technical experts and policymakers.
Kellie Sucha of Frankfort is a freshman in engineering. Sucha will study French through Boren’s African Flagship Languages Initiative, beginning with a summer program at the University of Florida, then at the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal, in the fall.
During high school, Sucha was a French tutor with the French Honors Society, and she received the French Seal of Biliteracy. She also participated in research at Argonne National Laboratories aimed at improving rechargeable batteries. During her study abroad, Sucha hopes to learn about Senegalese culture and how the French language varies between different parts of the world. She plans to become a doctor.
Tina Wayne of Danville is a senior who is majoring in political science and East Asian languages and cultures. She will study Japanese at the University of Tokyo during the next academic year.
Wayne is an intern for state Rep. Mike Marron of the 104th District, and she has served as secretary for the Illinois Model United Nations for two years. After her study abroad year, she plans to attend graduate school to study global affairs or the politics of international trade. She hopes to have a career with the United Nations.