JMU students earn scholarships to study critical languages abroad

by Eric Gorton


A pair of JMU students each earned $20,000 scholarships while two others received a total of $7,500 to study languages abroad this summer.

Thomas Calhoun, a senior, and Justen Silva, a sophomore, were among 161 students nationwide awarded $20,000 Boren Scholarships. Nearly 950 students applied for the scholarships that fund study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S interests including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. The scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP).

Calhoun will study Chinese in China and Silva will study Arabic in Jordan.

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren is the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the Boren Awards, the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name.

Jingjing "Crystal" Jin, a freshman, and Zeinab Nilforoush, a sophomore, were awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad program costs. A limited number of students will also receive additional funding for language study through the Critical Need Language Awards, for a total award of $8,000. Jin received $3,500 and Nilforoush received $4,000.

Jin will study Chinese in China and Nilforoush will study Arabic in Jordan. They are among 700 students from 270 colleges and universities across the country to receive the award this year.

The scholarship, named for retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman of New York and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. The scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

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Published: Monday, May 20, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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