Release Date: June 21, 2012
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 Program.
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 scholarship year.
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.