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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Award for study in South Africa

connell school news


Ashley Thibodeau

Connell School undergraduate student Ashley Thibodeau has been awarded a Boren Scholarship to study in South Africa during the 2010-11 academic year. She will study Xhosa at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa.

Thibodeau is a student in the nursing honors program at Boston College as well as an undergraduate research fellow. In this role, she works with Connell School Professor Ann Burgess researching child internet safety and profiling internet predators to help police identify them more effectively.

David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. Boren Awards provide 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 Robert Slater, director of NSEP, “represents an essential component of a comprehensive national security strategy to address serious and long-time deficiencies in critical language expertise.” 

For the second consecutive year, the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received a record number of applications for both the undergraduate Boren Scholarship and the graduate Boren Fellowship. This year, 925 undergraduate students applied for the Boren Scholarship and 138 were awarded, while 519 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship and 99 were awarded. Boren Scholars and Fellows will live in 51 different countries and study 43 different languages. The most popular countries are China, Egypt, Russia, Jordan, and Japan, and the most popular languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, and Portuguese. 

Since 1994, nearly 4,300 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