Scholarship Helps New K Alumnus Hone Chinese Skills

Students Build Chinese Skills in Study Abroad
Daniel Mota-Villegas ’21 (back row left) was studying abroad in Beijing in January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced students to return early. Now, though, Mota-Villegas is enhancing his language skills in Chinese through a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) through the U.S. Department of State.

A Kalamazoo College representative is enhancing his skills in Chinese this summer through a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS).

Daniel Mota-Villegas ’21 is among about 700 scholars currently in the CLS program, which actively recruits in regions that have been historically under-represented in international education. The opportunity enables those chosen to gain critical language and cultural skills in areas vital to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

Since 2006, CLS has awarded scholarships to more than 8,000 students while building respect and positive relations between Americans and citizens of other countries. CLS normally sends scholars to countries where they fully immerse themselves in the language of their choice, but the lingering effects of COVID-19 are requiring about 30 hours a week of virtual learning and cultural activities instead.

Nonetheless, “it’s been a very rewarding experience and it’s everything that I imagined it would be,” Mota-Villegas said. “It’s an intensive Chinese program that pushes me to expand on what I already know about Chinese language and culture. We learn upwards of 70 characters each day.”

Mota-Villegas spoke Spanish in his home life growing up and never considered learning another language—and taking those opportunities to see the world—until he attended K. At that time, he enrolled in his first Mandarin Chinese class and developed a fascination with China, its society and its values. In his sophomore year, he learned about China’s complex relationship with Taiwan, fueling his desire to study abroad and gain a deeper understanding of international relations.

In his study abroad experience, Mota-Villegas was among four K students in China in January 2020 when the pandemic began spreading, forcing students to return home early. However, he hopes to return to East Asia for an international master’s program in Asia Pacific studies at National ChengChi University in Taipei, Taiwan this fall while examining the complex relationships between China, Japan and Taiwan.

“The opportunities to continue practicing Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan will be abundant,” he said of his upcoming master’s experience. “I will not have to be sitting in a classroom to study because I’ll be outside, engaging with people in the community who have firsthand experience dealing with mainland China and Japan.”

Mota-Villegas wants his experiences at K, with CLS and in his master’s program to provide a springboard to a career in the foreign service, where he would promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.

“I’d be open to traveling anywhere,” he said. “I love learning about languages and culture. My dream job would be to work in mainland China, Taiwan or anywhere else in East Asia. I’m fascinated with East Asia, with all its history and culture, and CLS is giving me more experience with all of them.”

40 Under 40 Honoree Credits Faculty for Her K Success

40 Under 40 Honoree Young-Jin Chang
Young-Jin Chang ’06, the managing director and global head of metals at CME Group, is a 2019 Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 honoree. Since 2016, she has been responsible for the strategic development, management and profitability of global products including precious and industrial metals.

A Chicago business executive and Kalamazoo College alumna has earned an honor that puts her in the company of previous recipients as notable as entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Young-Jin Chang ’06, the managing director and global head of metals at CME Group, is a 2019 Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 honoree. This year’s group includes social activists, Fortune 500 vice presidents, doctors, professors and professional coaches.

Chang, according to the Crain’s article noting her accomplishments, has “crisscrossed the world, with family travels as a youngster to places like China; graduate school studies in Paris; and work travel to Asia, Europe, South America and Africa.”

Such travels led Chang to her current job after she sat beside a CME Group executive on a flight to Germany, prompting an invitation to stop by the company’s London office. Soon after that, from 2011-2016, Chang was a director in metals research and product development at CME. Since 2016, she has been responsible for the strategic development, management and profitability of global products including precious and industrial metals.

Awards such as 40 Under 40 are notable as Crain’s defines its honorees as rule-breakers, innovators, trailblazers and risk-takers, making them people who shape their community.

At age 16, Chang told her parents she wanted to leave her home in Seoul, South Korea, move to the U.S., and stay with her aunt in Portland, Oregon. After moving, her research regarding liberal arts colleges led her to Kalamazoo College, where she majored in business and economics, and minored in Chinese.

“My English was still improving and I felt I would get lost at a big school,” she said of her choice to attend K. “I needed a little more time to adjust and pursue an education in my own way.”

The access she had to the faculty made all the difference in her success, she added. Despite first thinking she wanted to become a lawyer, Chang received guidance from faculty in navigating the liberal arts and finding a passion for business. After K, she earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

“Everyone knew who I was by name,” Chang said of her time at K, crediting faculty such as then-Economics and Business Chair Ahmed Hussen, Edward and Virginia Van Dalson Professor of Economics Patrik Hultberg, and Senior Instructor Chuck Stull. “I found it very helpful anytime I could ask a direct question, especially when I was still learning the language. I remember going to their offices on a regular basis.”

After arriving at K, Chang found out from relatives that she wasn’t the first member of her family to attend K. A great aunt, Park Gye-hee ’58, majored in philosophy and lived in Trowbridge Hall.

“My great aunt’s father was not typical of his day,” Chang said in a LuxEsto article in spring 2006. “At that time elementary school was considered higher education for women in Korea, and the majority of women did not even complete that level. Her father was very forward thinking, and he valued education. He insisted his daughters complete secondary school and then go abroad to earn college degrees. His oldest four daughters did just that.”

In reflecting on her own time at K, Chang advises that current students be proactive in finding a passion and take advantage of study abroad opportunities.

“Find a passion that triggers you,” Chang said. “If you’re not loving what you’re doing, find what you’re good at. Learn about different cultures, even if that means taking study abroad in a place you never thought of going. Explore and find what makes you happy.”

K Athlete Flexes Liberal Arts Muscle in NBA Internship

For Amanda Moss ’19, the route to her prestigious internship this summer at National Basketball Association (NBA) headquarters in New York City began, improbably, with getting kicked out of a gym.

Amanda Moss Attending NBA Draft through her NBA Internship
Economics and business major Amanda Moss applied for a highly competitive NBA internship and was one of 50 students chosen from a pool of 6,000.

She says that while she was a basketball player in high school, she went to the community gym in her Detroit suburb daily during the summer to practice her jump shot. One day, however, an employee of the Detroit Pistons NBA team told her she would have to leave because the courts were reserved for a team-run youth basketball program.

“I started to pack up but then I looked around and saw they were way understaffed for the event they were going to hold,” she recalls. “So I went back up to the guy and I offered my assistance. He took me up on the offer and I helped set up chairs, run the scoreboard, that sort of thing, and helped to clean up when it was over.”

After the event, she says, the employee chatted with her and ended up offering her a summer job at the Pistons’ youth basketball camp.

Amanda Moss Playing Basketball NBA Internship
Amanda Moss, who plays on Kalamazoo College’s women’s basketball team, is working in an NBA internship this summer.

“I did that every summer for four years,” says Moss, who plays women’s basketball and lacrosse and was just named to the Jewish Sports Review Women’s College Lacrosse All-America Team for the second year in a row.

Along the way, she got to meet Pistons players including Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson and people in the team’s corporate office. So when it came time to seek an internship in summer 2017, she was well-situated to apply to the Pistons. She worked in community relations and marketing for the team, conceiving a career forum for girls 9 to 16 and then running every aspect of the event, which included presenting a panel of college basketball players and women business leaders.

That, in turn, set her up for this summer’s internship. With the help of K’s Center for Career and Professional Development and with advice from her professors, the economics and business major applied for the highly competitive program and was one of 50 students chosen from a pool of 6,000. She’s working in the retail division of the NBA’s Global Partnerships Department, which manages all aspects of the league’s relationship with companies including Nike, New Era, Foot Locker and Amazon.

That relationship includes activities such as licensing the sale of NBA-branded merchandise, arranging for advertising on NBA TV, approving the use of the NBA logo in social media messages and arranging player appearances at partner businesses, she says. Her role has been mainly in research. One assignment tasked her with finding out everything she could about how the NBA could work with Target Corp., and she says she discovered a natural fit in both organizations’ emphasis on supporting community voluntarism—a synergy around which her boss now is building a partnership program.

She says her K education has given her a real advantage in her role, especially a business research methods course that prepares students for their Senior Individualized Project (SIP). Business and economics professor Timothy Moffit ’80 put a heavy emphasis on identifying information sources in research papers, so in a PowerPoint presentation to NBA professionals, she says, she included a final slide listing all of her sources—about 30, and many of them recognizable names.

She says it helped cement the credibility and validity of her proposal. “They were really impressed. It’s not something that they were expecting.”

A Chinese minor who studied abroad in China during the 2017-18 school year, Moss also has had a chance to use her language skills, aiding her boss in a conference call with the NBA office in China, she says. And content- and video-editing skills she learned in a documentary filmmaking course have turned out to be in high demand, as well.

“Every day is a new day at the league,” she says. “You have to be very multidimensional. Part of the Kalamazoo College liberal arts experience is being able to study multiple subjects because the K-Plan is so flexible.”

With the experience gained in her internships, and a planned SIP contrasting consumer perceptions of professional sports in the United States and China, she hopes to land a corporate job in international sports after graduation. Her ultimate goal—“really just a dream” at this point, she says—would be to start a nonprofit venture that uses sports to connect with and empower Chinese girls.

“I was adopted from China, and when I went to my study abroad in China, I got to volunteer coach in some of the schools, and there was a huge absence of girls in all of the basketball programs,” she says, adding that Chinese girls get little encouragement to participate in team sports in general.

In another effort to help people achieve their goals, she is teaming with fellow Kalamazoo College athletes Alex Dupree ’21 and Jordan Wiley ’19 to form a sports business club for K students that will aid them in charting their way to careers in sports-oriented businesses and link them with alumni in the field.

Her effort to create what she calls “new channels and opportunities” for her classmates echoes what she says is her goal on the lacrosse field and basketball court: “to play for my teammates and make great memories.”

Moss’ enthusiasm and cooperative yet competitive spirit wins high praise from K physical education professor and coach Jeanne Hess.

“Amanda is one of the most committed players and teammates I’ve seen come through Kalamazoo College,” Hess says. “She plays with passion and ferocity and she’s fun to watch. She’s going to do great things.”

Initial Wait Leads K Student to Boren Scholarship

Boren Scholarship Winner Kimberly Yang
Kimberly Yang ’19 has received a Boren Scholarship and will study at Capital Normal University in Beijing.

“Pleasant surprise” and “final exams” rarely are uttered in the same breath even at Kalamazoo College. Yet Kimberly Yang ’19, of Grand Rapids, Mich., received welcome news around finals time this past spring.

Yang first was placed on a waiting list in mid-April after applying for a Boren Scholarship, a prestigious grant that allows students to study abroad in geographic areas, languages and fields deemed critical to U.S. national security. Then, a congratulatory email came at the end of May, sparking her plans to spend a term in Beijing this fall before returning to the U.S. in March. She has received a scholarship and will study at Capital Normal University.

Yang, an economics and political science major and Chinese minor, departs for China in less than a week. She said the trip will provide her with international experiences representing the U.S. while living abroad in a capital city.

Boren Scholarship winners commit to U.S. federal service for at least a year after they graduate. Yang said she hopes to serve in a role in environmental relations.

“With the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, China ironically is the leading proponent in the effort to reverse climate change,” she said, noting how China’s urban development affects the environment. “I want to pursue a career with the environment in China, especially with the demolition and fast-paced construction the country has been witnessing.”

Yang was born in Texas, but spent most of her high school years in Shanghai. She ultimately chose K for college because its small size seemed less intimidating as she was reacclimating to the United States. Last year, Yang served as the vice president of the Asian Pacific Islander Student Association at K. She also has served the campus as a student representative to Teach for America, a professional corps of leaders who commit to teaching in low-income schools and work to increase their students’ opportunities.

Yang joins Ihechi Ezuruonye ’19, of Southfield, Mich., and Molly Brueger ’19, of Arlington, Va., as the Boren winners from K in 2017-18. Ezuruonye and Brueger will study in Japan. Boren Awards are worth up to $20,000 depending on the student’s financial need and how long the student stays overseas. The grants are funded by the federal government through the National Security Education Program.

Boren Awards are named after former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren, the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program. Boren Scholars (undergrads) and Fellows (graduate students) study in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East.

 

East Asian Studies Students Earn Boren, Fulbright Honors

Three East Asian studies students at Kalamazoo College have earned prestigious competitive grants, allowing two to study abroad in Japan in the 2017-18 academic year, and a third to serve in an English teaching assistantship in Taiwan. Ihechi Ezuruonye ’19, of Southfield, Mich., and Molly Brueger ’19, of Arlington, Va., secured Boren Awards. Dejah Crystal ’17, of Standish, Maine, has earned a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award.

Boren Award Winner Ihechi Ezuruonye
Boren Award honoree Ihechi Ezuruonye will study for 11 months in Kyoto, Japan.

Boren Winners to Study in Japan

Boren Awards are worth up to $20,000 depending on the student’s financial need and how long the student stays overseas. Ezuruonye and Brueger were granted the maximum. The grants are funded by the federal government through the National Security Education Program, which focuses on geographic areas, languages and fields deemed critical to U.S. national security.

The awards are named after former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren, the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program. Boren Scholars (undergrads) and Fellows (graduate students) study in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. The winners commit to federal service for at least a year after graduation. Ezuruonye and Brueger will study from September 2017 to August 2018 in Kyoto, a former Japanese capital, at Doshisha University.

Ezuruonye, an international and area studies and East Asian studies double major with a Japanese concentration, sees similarities between Asian and African cultures, prompting her interest in Japan’s language, history and food. She hopes to work at the U.S. Embassy in Japan as an ambassador or deputy ambassador after graduation to fulfill her federal obligation. The study abroad program first attracted Ezuruonye to K.

Boren Award Winner Molly Brueger
Boren Award honor Molly Brueger will study for 11 months in Kyoto, Japan.

“Learning the language and the culture helps us understand the people,” Ezuruonye said. “If we’re more willing to talk and we’re learning the same language, it brings us one step closer together.”

Brueger, an international and area studies major with Japanese and Chinese emphases, first learned of K through the “Colleges That Change Lives” book by Loren Pope. Pope is a higher-education expert and former New York Times education editor, who describes 40 dynamic colleges, including K, that excel at developing potential, values and initiative in students, while providing the foundation for success beyond college.

Brueger wants to serve abroad in the Peace Corps as an English teacher to fulfill her federal service requirement. She credits East Asian studies Professor Dennis Frost, International Programs Director Margaret Wiedenhoeft, Adviser and Assistant Professor of Chinese Yue Hong, and two of K’s previous Boren winners – A.J. Convertino and Amanda Johnson – for a combination of encouragement, recommendations and essay assistance.

“I was surprised because (Boren scholarships) are so competitive,” Brueger said. “I’m really honored to receive the maximum. I’ll definitely put it to good use in becoming proficient in Japanese.”

Brueger will intern at the Chengdu Consulate General in China’s Sichuan Province this summer before heading to Japan.

Fulbright Recipient Traveling to Taiwan

Crystal is graduating in June with a degree in East Asian studies on a China track after just three years at K. Her study abroad experience took her to

Fulbright Winner Dejah Crystal
Fulbright winner Dejah Crystal will serve in a teaching assistantship in Taiwan.

Capital University in Beijing, although she will serve in an English teaching assistantship for 11 months beginning in August on the small Taiwanese island of Kinmen. After this opportunity, she would like to continue teaching in East Asia or seek a graduate degree there.

Crystal agrees she has found her professional calling in teaching because she has loved working with children through K experiences such as Community Advocates for Parents and Students (CAPS). CAPS is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization, which provides tutoring opportunities to Kalamazoo Public Schools students from kindergarteners to adults.

Crystal’s Fulbright-application process began as a first-year student when she heard another student was applying for a similar opportunity. After a couple of years of reviews from K’s Fulbright Committee, essay assistance from faculty, and general support from family, she thanks people such as her mom, stepmom and dad, Frost, Hong, Wiedenhoeft, K Global Health Director Diane Kiino and Professor Madeline Chu.

“I’m incredibly honored and excited,” Crystal said.

The federal government created the Fulbright Program in 1946, naming it after U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and the people of other countries through education, culture and science. Crystal is one of about 1,900 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research or teach abroad through the program in the coming academic year.

 

 

Magazine Honors K Student for China-Relations Pursuits

A magazine edited by students at Yale College is recognizing a Kalamazoo College student for demonstrating exceptional promise in China studies and furthering U.S.-China relations.

China Relations Student Amanda Johnson
China Hands Magazine is recognizing Kalamazoo College student Amanda Johnson for demonstrating exceptional promise in China studies and furthering U.S.-China relations.

China Hands Magazine judges chose Amanda Johnson ’17, an economics major and a political science and Chinese minor, for 25 Under 25: Leaders in U.S.-China Relations. As a junior at K, Johnson was one of just 171 undergraduate students nationwide to earn a Boren Scholarship to study abroad in Beijing and Harbin, China. The scholarships are named for former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren, the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program. Only four Kalamazoo College students have ever earned a Boren Scholarship.

Johnson interned in China as an event planner and writer with the Beijing International Society, where she worked alongside diplomats from around the world. The non-profit organization dedicates itself to expanding an international understanding of Chinese politics, economics and culture.

In other activities at K, Johnson has served as a secretary of finance for K’s Student Commission, a consultant for the student Writing Center, and a teaching assistant for the Economics Department. She plans to pursue a career in international economic policy with a focus on U.S.-China economic relations after graduation.

In establishing the “25 Under 25” honor in 2013, China Hands Magazine wrote, “We aim to highlight students and young working professionals who have worked to further mutual understanding between these two countries. As they continue building bridges between the two countries – whether in government, business or the social sector – we hope their stories will inspire others from our generation to do the same.”

Judges this year included Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States; Graham Webster, a senior fellow at The China Center at Yale Law School; and George Chen, an award-winning journalist and 2014 Yale World Fellow.

K Student Earns Boren Scholarship to Study in China

Junior A.J. Convertino – a Canton, Mich., native and a son of Val and Rick Convertino – has received a $20,000 David L. Boren Scholarship to study Chinese for six months in Beijing during Kalamazoo College’s winter/spring quarters.

A.J. Convertino in the quad at K College
A.J. Convertino will study for six months in China, where he will be immersed in Mandarin Chinese and work in an internship.

Boren Scholarships are funded by the federal government through the National Security Education Program, which focuses on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to United States national security. About 170 students nationwide earned the scholarship last year.

The prestigious scholarship is named for former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren, the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program. Boren Scholars (undergrads) and Fellows (graduate students) will live in 40 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East, and study 37 languages.

A.J., an East Asian studies major and a political science and Chinese minor, said he chose K for its academic and athletic opportunities as well as the study abroad program. He is a wide receiver on the K College football team and a member of the a capella group Kalamadudes, which he feels gave him an advantage in the rigorous Boren application process that required two essays and three letters of recommendation.

A.J. said he started taking Chinese when he attended Plymouth High School.

“At first I think taking Chinese was about me wanting to be different from everybody else,” he said. “We had more than 20 Spanish teachers and only one Chinese teacher. But it’s rare for a native English speaker to be fluent in Chinese.”

The scholarship will be a life-changing opportunity for A.J. When it’s done he will fulfill a two-year service obligation with the federal government in a department with national security responsibilities. A.J. hopes his service eventually leads to work as a Foreign Service officer in the U.S. Department of State.

Most football players at K need to miss their junior season if they decide to study abroad in a program like A.J.’s given when most of the programs are available. However, A.J. worked with Center for International Programs Acting Director Margaret Wiedenhoeft to find a six-month opportunity with enough credits that begins Dec. 28. He will depart Dec. 26 for Beijing’s Capital Normal University.

A.J. credits Wiedenhoeft, football coach Jamie Zorbo, Associate Professor of Political Science John Dugas, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature Madeline Chu, and Assistant Professor of Chinese Yue Hong for a combination of hard work, letters of recommendation, essay assistance, teaching styles and dedication for his upcoming opportunity.

The first part of A.J.’s experience will involve a language pledge, meaning he must speak Mandarin inside and outside the classroom. After the January term, he will have a two-week break for Chinese New Year before spring semester when he will have an intensive language course with a Chinese politics or history course in English. On top of that, he will work in an internship for eight hours a week, but he won’t know what his internship will involve until he gets to China.

“I’m really excited (for the internship) because I made it clear on my questionnaire that I’m interested in government and politics. Learning the vocabulary of that setting would really help me in my career,” A.J. said.

A.J. will return to the U.S. on June 24. Luke Winship (China/Mandarin), Erin Eagan (Senegal/Wolof) and Amanda Johnson (China/Mandarin) are previous Boren Scholars from K.

Kalamazoo College’s Maya Sykes ’18 Earns U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship

Maya Sykes
Maya Sykes ’18 will study in China during summer 2015 on a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

Kalamazoo College first-year student Maya Sykes ’18 has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Chinese in Beijing, China during summer 2015. Maya, a west-side Chicago native, is one of approximately 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students chose to study critical needs languages this summer. CLS participants will spend seven to ten weeks in intensive language institutes this summer in one of 13 countries to study Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, or Urdu.

“I am happy and nervous about earning the CLS scholarship,” said Maya, a self-described introvert and “K-pop” fan. “I’m a little nervous about going, but I’m happy I don’t have to look for a job this summer.”

Maya said she has been “interested in Asian culture since middle school. My cousins speak Mandarin Chinese and influenced me to do so. My current plan is to major in East Asian Studies at K and perhaps minor in Chinese and English.”

Outside of the classroom, Maya is active in the Student Activities Committee, a student-led organization that provides a variety of fun and healthy outlets to K students while committee offering members opportunities for campus leadership and involvement. She also tutors kindergarteners and second-graders at Woodward Elementary School through the College’s Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. It provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. CLS Program participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Selected finalists for the 2015 CLS Program hail from 49 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and represent more than 200 institutions of higher education from across the United States, including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, minority-serving institutions and community colleges.

 

Amanda Johnson ’17 Earns Boren Scholarship to Study in China during 2015-16 Academic Year

Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson ’17 is among 171 undergrads nationwide to earn a Boren Scholarship. She will study the Chinese language in China during the 2015-16 academic year.

Kalamazoo College sophomore Amanda Johnson ’17 has received a David L. Boren Scholarship to study in China during the 2015-2016 academic year. The $20,000 award will allow her to study Chinese in Beijing and Harbin.

Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program, a federal government program that focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to United States national security.

Amanda is one of only 171 undergraduate students (all U.S. passport holders) to receive the 2015-16 Boren award.

“Through the Boren Scholarship, I will focus on improving my Mandarin, immersing myself in Chinese culture, and taking part in both an internship and one-on-one study with a Chinese professor on a topic of my choosing,” said Amanda, a sophomore from Hudsonville, Mich.

In addition to pursuing majors in economics and political science and a minor in Chinese while at K, Amanda is secretary of finance for K’s Student Commission, a consultant for the student Writing Center, and a teaching assistant for the Economics Department. She also is active on campus with the movement for an intercultural center.

Upon receiving the Boren Scholarship, Amanda was enthusiastic about such a wonderful opportunity and the networks it would provide. She says it’s the result of “an amazing support system” that has helped her at K.

“By the time I submitted my final Boren application I had more than 18 rough drafts that had been edited by professors, staff members, and fellow students. This highlights what students at Kalamazoo College can do with a community that supports their endeavors.”

In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year following their formal education. Amanda says she may consider fulfilling her Boren Scholarship requirement with the Department of Homeland Security as an asylum officer, helping adjudicate asylum cases by using her Chinese (and Spanish) language skills. Ultimately, she hopes to pursue a career with the United States Department of State and she is excited about the opportunity the Boren Scholarship will give her to jumpstart her career.

During the winter break of her sophomore year, Amanda interned with the Human Rights Initiative of Northern Texas, a nonprofit organization that provides immigration services to individuals who have experienced human rights violations in their home country. This internship opportunity, funded by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, allowed Amanda to work with asylum applicants and utilize her Spanish and Chinese language skills throughout the application process.

The Boren awards are named for former U.S. Senator David L. Boren, the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program. Boren Scholars (undergrads) and Fellows (graduate students) will live in 40 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. They will study 37 different languages that are considered critical to U.S. interests, including Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian, Swahili, and Wolof.

Current Kalamazoo College seniors Luke Winship (China/Mandarin) and Erin Eagan (Senegal/Wolof) are previous Boren Scholars.