Public Health student Lydia Wilson recently received the Boren Scholarship, a National Security Education Program that sends students to learn languages in underrepresented countries critical to U.S. interest. After their time spent abroad, scholars are required to serve in the Federal Government for one year. Wilson Plans to serve in the Peace Corps after graduating from Mizzou to complete the federal service requirement, and she eventually hopes to work for the Centers for Disease Control studying communicable diseases in developing countries.
Wilson said the process moved slowly at first. “The application process for applying for the Boren is pretty intensive and long. It took me about three months to develop my full application.” She recommends other students stay optimistic through the process and remember why you are applying in the first place. “Having a strong argument as to why you want to study abroad and how that relates to national security is imperative.”
Once chosen, however, she was grateful and humbled. “When I first read the email that informed me I was selected for the Boren Scholarship I was shocked. I don’t think it really hit me how big of a deal it was until I told my parents that I was selected and they were really happy and proud of me and that was when I started to become excited about this incredible opportunity.”
For Wilson, this opportunity fits in perfectly with her career goals. “I have always known that I have wanted to work abroad in some way and love learning about new cultures and different ways of life. I am passionate about the idea of studying and learning from a diverse group of people who have experiences unlike my own in order to develop new perspectives and grow as an individual.” She is excited to explore another country and learn about their culture and language.
Lydia’s journey will begin at University of Madison-Wisconsin this summer, where she will begin language and cultural training. Following that she will be at the State University of Malang in Indonesia studying the Indonesian language and culture as part of the Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative (IFLI). She looks forward to immersing herself in the Indonesian culture and language and taking advantage of her time to develop strong relationships with the Indonesian community. “The Boren Scholarship will provide me with a strong foundation for my future career as a global health ambassador.”
Since 2014, 6 MU students have received Boren awards. Lydia is the first MU student to be selected for one of Boren’s Flagship Language Initiative programs. Read more about the Boren award.