Two Pomona College sophomores, Dallon Asnes and Eli Tanenbaum, have won Boren Scholarships for one year of study abroad and language studies in regions deemed critical to U.S. interests by the National Security Education Program. Asnes will study Hindi and Urdu in Jaipur and Varanasi, India, and Tanenbaum will study Arabic in Amman, Jordan. Boren Scholarship recipients commit to work in a national security capacity for the federal government for at least one year.
Asnes, a physics major from Daytona Beach, Florida, says he is looking forward to immersing himself in Hindi and living with a local family. While there he’ll be working on a research project exploring the types of renewable energy that exist in India and how much of a role solar cells can play in a community.
“Hindi and Urdu will open me up to a lot of communities throughout South Asia and I hope to learn enough technical vocab to discuss topics in renewable energy with community members,” says Asnes.
Tanenbaum, a Middle Eastern studies major and French minor from Claremont, started learning Arabic last year by taking additional classes at Cal State San Bernardino, and says he is looking forward to studying refugees and migration issues, Middle Eastern politics and Jordanian culture as well as Arabic. During his second semester in Jordan he hopes to intern at an NGO dealing with migration issues, and he sees the Boren Scholarship as a step towards his future career.
“I’m particularly interested in working with refugees seeking asylum in the United States. [With this scholarship] I could then employ my language skills to help interview refugees, work with resettlement organizations, and investigate the factual accuracy of asylum petitions,” says Tanenbaum.
This year, 165 Boren Scholarships were awarded to undergraduate students and 105 scholarships were awarded to graduate students. Since 1994, more than 5,500 students have received Boren Scholarships.