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Office of News & Public Affairs

Three Boston College Students Awarded
Boren Scholarships for International Study

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (June 2012)Boston College students Matthew Alonsozana, Stephen Jung Woo Choi and Kathleen Leuba, all members of the Class of 2014, have been awarded prestigious David L. Boren Scholarships to study in China (Alonsozana and Choi) and Egypt (Leuba) during the 2012-13 academic year. This year marks the most success Boston College students have achieved in the Boren competition since its establishment in 1994.

David L. Boren Scholarships are awarded to U.S. undergraduate students for study 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, 1,014 undergraduate students throughout the country applied for Boren Scholarships and only 161 were awarded.

Boren Scholars need to identify how their international study, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security, recognizing that the scope of national security includes 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.

Matthew Alonsozana

Alonsozana, a Boston College Presidential Scholar who is majoring in biology and economics, will study Mandarin at Northwestern University’s Public Health in China summer program at Peking University in Beijing. “Receiving the Boren to study Mandarin and public health in China is an unprecedented opportunity,” said Alonsozana. “I believe there is much to be learned from the interplay between the development of China's legal and economic structure and its public health system. With its elderly population tripling to 25% of the population in the next thirty years, China faces immense challenges in reorienting its public health system from one focused on infectious disease prevention to chronic care. They are challenges that American and international health professionals must understand better for the well-being of the entire region. By empowering foreign nations with economic assistance and a healthier populace, the United States can prevent the long-term internal disunions that are breeding grounds for extremism and instability.”

Kathleen Leuba '14

Leuba, whose majors are international studies and Islamic civilization and societies, will study Arabic at the American University in Cairo. “While in Cairo, I will focus on mastering Arabic and researching the Egyptian military. The U.S. relationship with Egypt will change with the formation of the new government, and it is critical that my generation—the future of American foreign policy—establishes a relationship with the new, revolutionized Egypt,” said Leuba. “I intend to continue learning and using Arabic throughout my career, whether that be conducting diplomacy or observing the inner workings of countries of specific interest to U.S. national security. I am so honored to have been awarded a Boren Scholarship and am grateful for the doors it will open.”

Stephen Choi '14

Choi is a triple major (political science, Islamic civilization and societies, and philosophy) who will study Mandarin at the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies and the China Studies Institute at Peking University. “Chinese has always been an interest to me. I think no one can deny its value in today's world of politics and business as well. Obviously immersion in the country will do wonders for my Mandarin speaking,” said Choi.

Two other BC students were named Boren Scholarship alternates and will find out later this month whether they will be awarded scholarships.

Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program, a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills, and administered by the Institute of International Education. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

For more information about the Boren Scholarships, visit


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