Four OU Students Receive Boren Awards for International Study
Four University of Oklahoma students – Siera Collins of Belton, S.C.; Matthew Davis of Harrah; Lindsay Hefton of Sherman, Texas; and Marjorie Tanner of Tulsa – have won the Boren Award for International Study, sponsored by the National Security Education Program.
Boren Scholarships, named for David L. Boren, OU’s 13th president and a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator, focus on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. The awards provide up to $20,000 in funding to undergraduate students to study abroad.
Collins is pursuing dual degrees in international relations and Arabic languages and literature and is a member of the Arabic Flagship Program. She plans to spend the next academic year at the University of Alexandria, Egypt, and study Arabic. Her career goal is to work for the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Active in the International Affairs Society, Collins currently serves as executive chair, helped to found the outreach committee for the organization, and directs their mentorship program. In 2009, Collins was a congressional intern in the office of U.S. Congressman Tom Cole for the 4th District of Oklahoma. She also is one of 13 students selected for the College of International Studies’ International Leadership Program, a member of the Levantine Arabic dialect group, and a contributing author to Al-Oklahomi, a journal that showcases the work of students studying Arabic.
Davis is pursuing majors in international politics and environmental studies with a minor in Africa area studies. He plans to study Swahili for the fall 2013 semester at the State University of Zanzibar, Tanzania, and then at the School for International Training in Tanzania for the spring 2014 semester. There, in addition to studying Swahili, Davis will take courses in resource management and environmental studies. Before going to Africa, he will spend 10 weeks at the University of Florida for an intensive language course. Upon graduation, Davis plans to enlist in the U.S. Army. A member of the OU Men’s Soccer Club, Davis also is active in the Sierra Club and 350.org, a national environmental organization.
An international relations major with an Arabic languages and literature minor, Hefton will study at the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy in Amman, Jordan, for the fall 2013 semester. Following graduation, she may pursue a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies and Arabic, and then a career in the CIA or Foreign Service. A Sooner Heritage Scholarship recipient, Hefton also has won the Board of Visitors Scholarship for Study Abroad, a Presidential International Travel Fellowship and a Global Access Initiative Scholarship for study abroad. She has assisted with several Arab Student Association events and with Sooner Saturday on behalf of the College of International Studies.
Tanner is pursuing a double major in Chinese languages and literature and international relations. She will spend the 2013-14 academic year at Beijing Normal University to study Mandarin, and then plans to attend law school with a concentration in international law. Her career plans include working with USAID to promote fair trade laws in China, and with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. While in high school, Tanner studied for two semesters in Beijing, and in 2006 began working for the National Security Language Initiative program STARTALK. Recently, she began teaching in after-school Chinese program for elementary school students, sponsored by the OU Confucius Institute.