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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

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Two USC students earn Boren Scholarships for intensive language study, cultural immersion

Caroline Lochner and Claire Mattes have earned Boren Scholarships for the 2024-2025 academic year. Sponsored by the Department of Defense, the Boren Scholarship funds long-term, intensive study of less commonly taught languages that are crucial for U.S. national security. Participants also engage with their host country’s community, deepening their cultural knowledge.

Why it matters

Boren Scholarships open doors to languages outside of Western Europe that are not often available for study at U.S. universities. Recipients can choose from over 60 languages, receiving up to $12,500 for a semester of study or up to $25,000 for a year-long program. Awards are also available to STEM majors for summer study.

The perfect start

Prior knowledge of the chosen language is not required, making Boren an ideal opportunity for novices who are eager to embrace a language-learning opportunity. Proficient speakers can also benefit from long-term immersion in a country where their target language is spoken. Additionally, Boren Scholarships are a gateway to a federal service career: upon graduation, Boren alumni work for a federal agency for at least a year.

Who they are

Caroline Lochner


First-year Honors student Caroline Lochner is a public health major. She will travel to Jordan and spend a semester studying Arabic, specifically the Amiya dialect. Lochner discovered her passion for Arabic while studying in Morocco through the Kenedy Lugar YES Abroad Scholarship. Through Boren, she looks forward to deepening her understanding of the Middle East region and exploring her intersecting interests in medicine and the Arabic language. This opportunity is an important step along her path to becoming a doctor and developmental healthcare officer for USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance.

Claire Mattes


Claire Mattes is a senior Capstone student majoring in international studies. Mattes will participate in Boren’s African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) to study Wolof. Her program will begin in Washington, D.C., in May, and she will start learning Wolof at the University of Florida this summer. In the fall, she will travel to Dakar, Senegal, to begin the ACIBaobab Language Program. At USC, Mattes serves as the co-executive producer of the Seeking Refuge podcast, which tells the stories of refugees from around the world. She hopes to use the language skills she develops as a Boren Scholar to continue advocating for refugees in sub-Saharan and West Africa.

In addition to support from national fellowships advisors, USC’s Boren candidates can gain insight from a faculty committee. For the 2023 – 2024 academic year, Dr. David Hudgens, Morgan Inabinet, Dr. Judy Kalb, Dr. Matthew Melvin-Koushki and Dr. Magdalena Stawkowski served on the committee.

National Fellowships and Scholar Programs provides support for Boren Scholarship applicants. Students interested in learning more should contact USC’s national fellowships team

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