BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sarah Boerschig, a sophomore history and Asian
studies major and University Honors College scholar at the
University at Buffalo, is the first UB student to receive the 2012
David L. Boren Scholarship from the National Security Education
The scholarship offers a grant of up to $20,000 to outstanding
U.S. undergraduates through a competitive, national, merit-based
process. It was established in 1994 in the wake of Desert Storm, to
send scholars abroad to countries considered by the NSEP to be
critical to U.S. national security.
The goal is to increase the national capacity to deal
effectively with foreign cultures and languages. Recipients study
the language and culture of host countries and commit to working
for the U.S. government for at least one year after their
Boerschig, also a recipient of both UB's Provost Scholarship and
the Katherine Pratt Horton Scholarship, received the award at the
Boren Scholarship Convocation in Washington, D.C., on June 7.
Boerschig, an Amherst native and Amherst High School graduate,
will use the award during the 2012-13 academic year to fund her
studies in Japan, where she plans to attend either Kanazawa
University or Konan University. In addition to speaking Japanese,
Boerschig is fluent in Spanish.
Foreign cultures have always fascinated Boerschig. She credits
her fondness of Japanese culture to an excellent global history
teacher in 10th grade, to a friend who introduced her to anime and
to interesting books on haiku poetry.
"I think it's a little rude to expect other people to learn
English, and then not pay any attention to their languages and
cultures," said Boerschig. "I feel a little guilty about that
because I knew almost nothing about other countries before I came
to UB, so I would like to learn as much as possible."
Her interest in Japanese language has evolved to include on an
interest in the Russo-Japanese War. She intends brush up on Korean
and Russian as she advances her studies and research.
Boerschig said she hopes one day to use her knowledge of foreign
nations to help solve international conflicts. She believes that
many international problems arise due to the lack of understanding
nations have about neighboring countries.
"Someday I want to use what I've learned to help mediate
misunderstandings between nations, especially between Japan and its
neighbors," said Boerschig. "If I can do that, it would mean the
world to me."
The Boren Scholarship is also a major accomplishment for UB's
Study Abroad program. Olga Crombie, assistant director of UB Study
Abroad, said the award is a milestone for the office and a tribute
to the efforts of UB faculty and staff to provide opportunities for
UB students to study abroad and learn about other cultures.