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Drexel's 2016 Boren Awards Honorees

April 29, 2016

Congratulations to Drexel’s 2016 Boren Awards Honorees!

Four Drexel students have received prestigious Boren Awards for International Study and one has been selected as an alternate. These students are among just 270 selected nationwide from 1170 applicants. The Boren Awards recognize students who demonstrate strong academic achievement and commitment to study language and work in regions critical to U.S. national interests.

We congratulate these students and the faculty mentors who have given them guidance and support along the way.

Adam CraigAdam Craig
PhD student in Biomedical Engineering
Drexel Faculty Mentor: Uri Hershberg
Boren Fellowship to Israel
As a Boren Fellow, Adam plans to conduct research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The goal of his research will be to develop a web application that facilitates international and interdisciplinary collaboration in the description and study of complex systems. The main purpose of conducting this research in Israel is to study Israeli academic culture and nonverbal modes of communication in order to design the web application to facilitate aspects of in-person collaboration that are hindered by current approaches to remote collaboration. Adam also plans to utilize his time in Israel to develop his Hebrew language skills, which he hopes to apply tutoring high school students and undergraduates while there.

Allie PickensAlexandra Pickens
BA International Area Studies ’17, Honors
Boren Scholarship to Jordan
Alexandra (Allie) is completing her bachelor’s in International Area Studies, with minors in Politics and Arabic. Her Boren Scholarship program will take place in Amman, Jordan, where she will complete her third co-op and two Arabic language programs. Allie aspires to eventually apply the language skills, cultural knowledge and international experience from her Boren Scholarship program to a career with the U.S. Department of State. Allie is also a recent alumna of Drexel’s Field Hockey team, and spent her second co-op building and coaching a field hockey team at a small school in the Himalayan foothills.

AmandaPentecostAmanda Pentecost

BS '13; PhD candidate in Materials Science & Engineering
Drexel faculty mentors: Yury GogotsiKara Spiller
Boren Fellowship to South Korea
Amanda is a dual PhD candidate in Materials Science & Engineering and MS student in Biomedical Engineering. Amanda’s dissertation research focuses on using theragnostic diamond nanoparticles to increase the effectiveness of a common anti-inflammatory drug, dexamethasone, in preventing fibrous capsule formation and isolation of an implanted biomaterial. Under the guidance of Dr. Yury Gogotsi (MSE, Drexel Nanomaterials Group) and Dr. Kara Spiller (BMES, Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine Lab), Amanda has been designing and characterizing this novel drug delivery system, as well as testing it on a cellular level. Through her Boren Fellowship, Amanda will be conducting research with Dr. Kwangmeyung Kim at the Center for Theragnosis, housed in the Biomedical Research Institute at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Seoul, South Korea.

Caitlin WalczykCaitlin Walczyk
BA International Area Studies and Political Science '18, Honors
Boren Scholarship to Kazakhstan
Caitlin has focused her studies on foreign policy, international relations, and languages, with a particular interest in post-World War II geopolitics and cooperation within the international system. She has extensively researched intercultural communication competence, the concept of national identity, and factors deemed significant to U.S. national security. As a Boren Scholar, Caitlin will be studying Russian language and post-Soviet history and culture at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Krishna Desai Krishna Desai
BS International Business, Finance, Analytics ‘17, Honors
Boren Alternate to India
Krishna has a strong interest in international business and cross-cultural relations. She explored these interests in a co-op in International Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. In 2014, Krishna studied abroad in Singapore, where she developed a knowledge of cultural intelligence, cross-cultural conflict management, and international business strategy. If awarded a Boren Scholarship to go to India, Krishna will continue to study these subject areas as well as learn Hindi, in order to pursue an international business career focusing on trade as a Foreign Service Economic Officer.

The Boren Awards, an initiative of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), fund undergraduate and graduate US citizens to study less commonly taught languages in world regions that are critical to U.S. national security and under-represented in study abroad. The awards promote long term cultural and linguistic immersion in countries in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren applicants are highly motivated individuals with an interest in serving in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren awardees commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

For more information, visit our Boren Awards page or contact

Official Press Release
2016 Boren Scholars and Fellows Awarded

The Institute of International Education (IIE), on behalf of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), awarded 165 David L. Boren Scholarships to undergraduate students and 105 David L. Boren Fellowships to graduate students to add important international and language components to their educations by studying overseas in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Boren Scholars and Fellows will live in 41 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. They will study 36 different languages. The most popular languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, and Swahili. This year, 820 undergraduate students applied for the Boren Scholarship and 350 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship.

NSEP is a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. NSEP’s Boren Awards program provides U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of our nation. In exchange for funding, Boren Award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year. “The National Security Education Program,” according to Dr. Michael A. Nugent, NSEP Director, “is helping change the U.S. higher education system and the way Americans approach the study of foreign languages and cultures.”

“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,” says University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who as a U.S. Senator was the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and 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, over 5,500 students have received Boren Awards. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena, and program alumni are contributing to the critical missions of agencies throughout the federal government. An independent not-for-profit founded in 1919, IIE is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and exchange organizations. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for the Boren Awards should contact IIE at or visit