Jeremy Luna ’19 (Asian Studies, International Relations) is one of just 194 U.S. undergraduate students who will receive financial support for international study through the David L. Boren Scholarship, awarded annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
Luna has already taken advantage of study abroad opportunities at SUNY New Paltz, having spent the summer 2016 term in South Korea engaged in an English teaching internship. The Boren will enable him to expand his international experience with a term of study in Japan, which he says is key to his future career ambitions.
“Ultimately, I wish to become a Public Diplomacy Officer for the U.S. Department of State, so I see international study as the cornerstone to succeeding in my goals of pursuing a career in diplomacy,” Luna said. “I’m eager to immerse and engage with Japanese culture. I want to experience everything that I can, from Kabuki Theater performances to traditional cultural festivals, and also improve my language proficiency, which would enable me to seek employment in most work settings that utilize Japanese.”
Luna credits a number of faculty and staff mentors with helping him learn of and apply for the Boren Scholarship. The Center for International Programs works tirelessly to help students access programs to fund study abroad opportunities. Luna had additional support from advisors through his membership in the Honors Program and the Educational Opportunity Program.
The fact that so many people were involved in helping him earn this exclusive award made the moment he learned he’d won it even sweeter.
“I was actually in the middle of my class when I found out about the Boren Scholarship – we were working on our research paper edits and we were allowed to use our PCs and phones,” Luna said. “I accessed my email and noticed a new message titled ‘Boren Scholarship Application 2017 Status.’ When I opened it I almost cried. It was the most amazing feeling in the world because I knew that my biggest dream–to study in Japan–would finally become a reality.”
Students like Luna, who aspire to international professions that serve the public good, are exactly the types of people the Boren Scholarship was established to support.
“To continue to play a leadership role in the world, it is vital that America’s future leaders have a deep understanding of the rest of the world,” said University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who as a U.S. Senator was the principal author of the legislation that created the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name. “As we seek to lead through partnerships, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”
Since 1994, more than 6,000 students have received Boren Awards. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for future Boren Awards should contact IIE at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.borenawards.org.