Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Student Receives Prestigious Boren Scholarship

by Jenny Ralph, FSU Communications

Florida State University Presidential Scholar Maddy Johnson has been awarded the prestigious Boren Scholarship to study Arabic next year in Amman, Jordan.

Boren Awards, offered through an initiative of the National Security Education Program, allow students to study abroad for up to a year in areas of the world critical to U.S. national security and economic prosperity.

Johnson, a sophomore from Lawrence, Kansas, is majoring in international affairs and Middle Eastern studies. As a Presidential Scholar, she is a member of FSU’s premier undergraduate program.

“Through my experience abroad, I hope to gain a better understanding of refugee integration and the role of international aid in refugee camps,” Johnson said. “I will also focus on my Arabic acquisition and hope to apply my language skills towards refugee advocacy in the future.”

She hopes to one day work with the United Nations or for an NGO to make international education and development efforts more sustainable, ethical and culturally sensitive.

Johnson has interned with the International Rescue Committee, assisting Congolese refugees resettle in Tallahassee. She’s also served as a research assistant for Professor of Religion John Kelsey through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), and she presented her project “Religion and Revolutionary Violence – a study of John Brown, Osama Bin Laden and Patrick Pearse” during the Undergraduate Research Symposium last April 2019.

“Maddy is the epitome of a student who was engaging their interests, and she came to the Office of National Fellowships ready to learn about fellowships and scholarships that would help her continue her exploration,” said Josh Stanek, associate director of the Office of National Fellowships. “It has been a pleasure working with her during this yearlong process, and I am so happy her dedication paid off.”

Boren Scholarships, designed for U.S. undergraduate students like Johnson, provide up to $20,000 to study commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests in underrepresented areas for study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Award winners commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

More information on the Office of National Fellowships.