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Office of News & Public Affairs

Two BC students awarded Boren Scholarships for study in South Africa

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (July 2010) – Boston College students Erica Cross and Ashley Thibodeau have been awarded prestigious David L. Boren Scholarships to study in South Africa during the 2010-11 academic year.

David L. Boren Scholarships are awarded to U.S. undergraduate students for study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad programs, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. This year, a record 925 undergraduate students throughout the country applied for Boren Scholarships and only 138 were awarded.

Cross and Thibodeau, both members of the Boston College Class of 2012, will enroll in the University of Cape Town and study Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa.

Ashley Thibodeau

Thibodeau, who is a member of BC’s Connell School of Nursing Honors program, plans on a career as a pediatric nurse practitioner. “University of Cape Town medical students run five different clinics in the townships of Cape Town, the poorest areas of the city, and I hope to be able to volunteer in these clinics while I am there. In my research on Africa I have learned so much about the healthcare disparities, so I am very interested to experience clinics there firsthand. I think observing health care facilities in different environments will benefit me greatly in the future. I hope to help children in great need, in the U.S. or abroad,” she said.

Erica Cross

Cross is a political science major in the University’s College of Arts & Sciences. "I am interested in international affairs and in learning more about South Africa and its political development. I don’t think there’s any better way to understand a country and its role in the world than to live in it, experiencing the culture, customs, and language. I am very much drawn to South Africa and its unique history, so the opportunity to live in Cape Town and study the language and the culture is a phenomenal opportunity," said Cross.

Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program, which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. Boren Scholars need to identify how their study abroad, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society-- sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.

In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

Recipients of Boren Scholarships and Fellowships (awards for graduate students) will live in 51 countries and study 43 languages.

For more information about the Boren Scholarships, visit

--Kathleen Sullivan, Boston College Office of News & Public Affairs, 617-552-8644