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Awards take students around the world
Scholarship winners to build career experience in China and Germany

May 15, 2007
By Elizabeth Boyle

Matt Bush didn't just get funding for his study-abroad experience when he won a nationally competitive award this year. He got a shot at a career with the federal government, too. For the aspiring intelligence officer, it was a dream come true.

Matt Bush photo by Rick FaticaThe National Security Education Program David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarship, which provides up to $20,000 for study in regions critical to U.S. interests, requires that recipients use the language and cultural skills they acquire while abroad to work for the federal government for at least a year after they complete their studies. More than 750 applicants compete for the approximately 150 awards given each year.

"The whole program's mission fits my goal and mission in life to work in national security for the United States," said Bush, a junior political science major. "The jobs or internships that you get are very hard to get; they're prestigious."

The ROTC member already had momentum toward his career goal thanks to two summer internships with the Inspector General's Office in the Department of Defense. Now, Bush, who is pursuing an Asian Studies certificate, will round out his resume with an education-abroad experience next fall in China, where he will study at The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies.

"China is one of the rising nations, and it's going to play an increasingly important role in international affairs," said Bill Owens, associate professor and chair of classics and world religions, who had Bush in class. "Matt will be one of those Americans who are lucky enough to be familiar with the Chinese culture, but also to speak the Chinese language."

Bush credits Owens along with Major Mark Dean of Army ROTC and the four-member campus NSEP committee for helping him achieve the scholarship. 

"The feedback that I got back from the NSEP committee was very crucial to the final version of my essay and me receiving the award," he said.

Sharlene Cleveland photo by Rick FaticaAlso expanding upon an impressive resume next year will be sophomore political science and German major Sharlene Cleveland, who received a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Undergraduate Scholarship to support her study next year in Leipzig, Germany. The award, supported by the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation, will pay for all of her study-abroad costs.

Cleveland lived in Germany for a year as a high school junior on an exchange scholarship. She said this time around, she'll take courses and begin preliminary work on her senior thesis, which will address immigration issues.

"Germany is more diverse than people think," she said, explaining that she hopes to interact with immigrant populations and develop her language skills. "I would love to see how they view certain things like globalization."

Cleveland, a McNair Scholar who is pursuing an African Studies certificate and is a member of Sigma Alpha Lamda honors fraternity, plans to go to law school or graduate school for international studies. She credits Assistant Professor of Political Science Hector Perla for encouraging her to apply and to conduct research during her trip.

"Her study abroad will be a great asset," Perla said. "By exploring how Germany and Germans deal with the same problems that we as a society face in the U.S., she will gain deeper insight into both the strengths and weaknesses of our policies."

For more on nationally competitive awards, visit www.ohio.edu/awards.

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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