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UofSC Student Wins Boren Scholarship to Study Critical Language Abroad


UofSC senior, Patrick McKenzie has received the Boren Scholarship for 2019-2020, out of 244 awards given nationally. This brings the total number of UofSC Boren Scholarship and Fellowship winners to 52.

McKenzie is a senior in the South Carolina Honors College.  He is a Stamps Scholar double majoring in Geography and Biology with a minor in Spanish. As an undergraduate, he studied media portrayal of the Hawaiian Monk Seal as a NOAA Hollings intern, studied abroad in Panama, conducted research under Dr. Dudycha, volunteered at the Carolina Survivor Clinic as a tutor for refugees in Columbia, and conducted independent research on the impacts of the Chan-75 dam on the surrounding indigenous Ngobe communities. McKenzie will spend the 2019-2020 academic year studying Arabic in Jordan and plans to pursue a career in immigration law in the future.

David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. Boren Awards provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of our nation. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year. “The National Security Education Program,” according to Dr. Michael A. Nugent, NSEP Director, “is helping change the U.S. higher education system and the way Americans approach the study of foreign languages and cultures.”

Since 1994, over 6,000 students have received Boren Awards. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena, and program alumni are contributing to the critical missions of agencies throughout the federal government. An independent not-for-profit founded in 1919, IIE is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and exchange organizations. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for the Boren Awards should contact IIE at or visit


Boren candidates were supported during the application process by two offices at the University of South Carolina: the Study Abroad Office ( which assists Carolina students in pursuing education overseas, and the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs, established in 1994 to assist students applying for national fellowship competitions. 

Students interested in Boren and other national fellowships should contact the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs at 777-0958, or visit us online at

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