DeMaio, Weinberg receive Boren Scholarships

Jacob Weinberg and Kassidy DeMaio

NC State students Kassidy DeMaio and Jacob Weinberg have been awarded David L. Boren Scholarships. The awards are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a 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 the United States. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

DeMaio is a junior double major in political science and Arabic language and culture. She is also a member of NC State’s Arabic Club, the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, and conducts research at the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies.

“To receive the Boren means that I have the opportunity to pursue my passion of Arabic language and culture,” DeMaio said. “I am honored to have been chosen for this scholarship, for it has validated all my hard work and shown me that I’m capable of doing what I want and has motivated me to further pursue a career with Arabic and national security, which are the fields I am passionate about. 

“I hope to take advantage of the national security and language focus of the scholarship to obtain a master’s degree in national security and do further research with Arabic speaking communities,” DeMaio continued. “With a deeper understanding of both subjects, I will approach Arabic speaking communities with a linguistic, cultural, and professional competence that will provide me with a unique perspective as I contribute to my professional career with the federal government.”

Weinberg is a senior majoring in engineering. He has also been involved with NC State’s Air Force ROTC, American Nuclear Society, and Silver Wings.

“To live and study in an underrepresented part of the world is such a unique opportunity, and I’m extremely honored to be selected as a Boren Scholarship recipient,” Weinberg said. “While I’ll be graduating soon, the language and cultural skills I’ll get from studying abroad will support my goal to work as a diplomat on nuclear non-proliferation as well as my career in the Air Force.”

The University Fellowships Office (UFO) assisted both DeMaio and Weinberg in applying for the Boren Scholarship program.

“Applicants are required to work closely with the UFO to craft compelling essays that demonstrate their commitment to national security, both at home and abroad, while also learning critical languages that will enhance diplomatic efforts in the future,” said Courtney Hughes, director of the University Fellowships Office. “Both of our awardees—Jacob and Kassidy—display maturity, critical thinking, and leadership skills that ensure success in these endeavors.”

This year, the Institute of International Education (IIE), which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received 784 applications from undergraduate students for the Boren Scholarships and awarded 217; 268 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowships and 119 were awarded. The selected Boren Scholars and Fellows intend to study in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. They will study 46 different languages. The most popular languages include Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, French, Turkish, and Indonesian. Given the unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic, IIE will work flexibly with 2020 awardees to ensure that as many as possible are able to proceed with their overseas language study when it is safe and feasible to do so. 

Since 1994, over 7,000 students have received Boren Awards and contributed their vital skills to careers in support of the critical missions of agencies throughout the federal government.

“To continue to play a leadership role in the world, it is vital that America’s future leaders have a deep understanding of the rest of the world,” said former U.S. Senator David Boren, the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program. “As we seek to lead through partnerships, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”

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 boren@iie.org or visit www.borenawards.org.