WKU Student Wins Scholarship for Study in China

stovall 300BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (5/28/13) – J.P. Stovall, a senior from Nashville, Tenn., has been awarded a David L. Boren Scholarship that will fund his participation in the Chinese Flagship Program’s Capstone Year in China.

Beginning in August, Stovall, an international affairs, Asian religions & cultures, and Spanish major, will be enrolled in courses at Nanjing University. In January, he will begin a six-month internship with a Chinese organization where he will work toward achieving professional proficiency in the language.

The Boren Scholarship funds up to $20,000 for up to a year of study abroad in a critical-need country. Beyond covering the cost of the Capstone Year, Stovall said that receiving the Boren Scholarship will help him achieve his career goals with the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service.

“The Boren Scholarship comes with a yearlong service requirement contributing to national security. This includes the career that I have been working towards, and in fact, allows me to skip the first part of the entrance examination for the Foreign Service,” he said. “So I’m essentially being required to go after the job I wanted anyway, and I’ll have the prestige of being a Boren Scholar and assistance during the hiring process. It’s a win-win-win.”

Stovall, a student in the Honors College at WKU, has extensive experience traveling abroad. A two-time winner of the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to China, he is currently studying abroad in Argentina, completing research for his Capstone Experience/Thesis project on political narratives of Argentinean presidents.

“Since I came back to campus from the first time I studied abroad, I’ve always had my eye on the next opportunity,” he said. “They’ve been the most valuable and formative aspects of my time as a Hilltopper.”

Dr. Melinda Grimsley-Smith, coordinator of international scholarships for the Office of Scholar Development, works with applicants for the Boren Scholarship each year. The core of the Boren Scholarship application is a two-part statement of purpose that requires applicants to explain the significance of their proposed study abroad experience to U.S. national security, broadly defined, as well as explain how their program of study will help them achieve their academic and career goals.

“The Boren Scholarship is a natural fit for Chinese Flagship students, many of whom, like J.P., are planning to serve in the federal government in some capacity. It offers an extraordinary opportunity for students who commit to studying Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Russian, or other critical languages abroad for a semester or longer,” Grimsley-Smith said.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have the support from OSD, the Honors College, the School of Leadership Studies, and the Study Abroad Office,” Stovall said. “Each one has been invaluable in making it happen every time and have been very supportive of me in all the goals I’m chasing.”

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