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Five START students earn competitive Boren Scholarships

Students set off for Morocco, Kazakhstan and Tanzania

For the sixth consecutive year, University of Maryland undergraduate students won more Boren Scholarships than students from any other university in the United States. Five of the 11 UMD students selected this year have participated in START’s flagship internship program.

The Boren Scholarship provides up to $20,000 in funding for American undergraduate students from various academic disciplines to study less commonly taught languages 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 Boren scholarship has made my dreams of becoming fluent in Arabic more tangible and will take my language skills beyond what I could have expected,” said Brooke Blankenship, a Boren Scholar and START intern.

Part of the Department of Defense’s National Security Education Program, the scholarship is designed for students with a serious interest in using their language and regional knowledge skills in U.S. Government service.

“The interdisciplinary nature of START, and my experiences abroad made possible by the Boren Scholarship, will prepare me to address linguistic challenges in analyzing human language,” said John Mathena, a Boren Scholar and START intern. 

The START students to be awarded the 2017 Boren Scholarship are:


Brooke Blankenship - Arabic Studies / Communications

2017 Boren Award for Arabic Language Study in Morocco

Blankenship is double-majoring in Communications and Arabic Studies, and is a member of the Arabic Flagship Program and the Honors College (University Honors Program). At START, she has served as both a communications intern and an intern with the INSPIRE project.


Samantha Enokian - Russian / International Development and Conflict Management (minor)

2017 Boren Award for Russian Language Study in Kazakhstan

Enokian is a Russian major, and is minoring in International Development and Conflict Management. She has participated in the Global Fellows Program, and has been an intern with START’s Nuclear Security and Smuggling project. Enokian has previously studied Russian in Kazan, Russia.


Marina Farrugia- Arabic Studies / Middle Eastern Studies (minor)

2017 Boren Award for Arabic Language Study in Morocco

Farrugia is majoring in Arabic Studies as a member of the Arabic Flagship Program, and is also minoring in Middle Eastern Studies. She has participated in the Federal Fellows program and in the Language House (Arabic Cluster) at UMD. Farrugia has also served as an intern on the State-START project.


John Mathena - Linguistics / Arabic (minor)

2017 Boren Award for Arabic Language Study in Morocco

Mathena is a Linguistics major, and is minoring in Arabic as a member of the Arabic Flagship Program. He participated in the Global Communities Programs, and as an intern with START’s INSPIRE project, as well as with the Center for Advanced Study of Language. Mathena has also been a member of PULSAR, a multidisciplinary training opportunity for undergraduate students.


Susan Price - Government and Politics

2017 Boren Award for Swahili Language Study in Tanzania

Price is a Government and Politics major and member of the Honors College (University Honors Program), and has participated in the Global Fellows Program at UMD. She has interned with the office of Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. State Department in Washington, and with START’s Terrorist Ideology project.