David Barbier Jr. ’23 was looking to explore more of his professional interest in television, radio and film and stretch himself in a challenging role. He found what he was searching for after applying and being named a 2021 Jeff…
Four Maxwell Students Named as Boren Fellows
Four students in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs have been named as recipients of the 2021 Boren Fellowship.
The fellowship, sponsored by the National Security Education Program, funds immersive foreign language study abroad experiences for graduate students who plan to work in the federal national security arena. Through their experiences, the fellows develop critical foreign language and international skills that are important for their chosen careers. All of Syracuse University’s applications to the Boren Fellowship program were funded this year.
The recipients are:
- Courtney Blankenship, a first-year master’s degree student in international relations (Peace, Security and Conflict track) also pursuing certificates of advanced study in security studies and Middle Eastern affairs, studying Tarifit in Morocco;
- Roger Onofre, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in international relations, studying Arabic in Jordan;
- Ivy Raines, a Ph.D. student in political science, studying Persian in Tajikistan; and
- Kelli Sunabe, a graduate student pursuing master’s degree in public administration and international relations, studying Mandarin Chinese in Taipei, Taiwan.
Blankenship and Onofre are also recipients of the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS).
Blankenship is currently virtually engaged in intensive Arabic classes with the Noor Majan Training Institute in Oman as part of the CLS program. While the CLS program centers on Modern Standard Arabic, she will have an opportunity to learn the Omani dialect of Arabic during language partner sessions.
“I hope to travel to Oman in the future once the pandemic ends so that I may reconnect with people I met virtually through the program and continue to learn about Omani culture,” Blankenship says.
After the fall semester ends, Blankenship will spend six months studying the Amazigh language, Tarifit, as a Boren Fellow in Morocco. She will live in the Rif region, which is the same area of the country where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer before she was evacuated in 2020 due to the pandemic. “During my 18 months of Peace Corps service, I primarily focused on learning Darija—the Moroccan dialect of Arabic—and while I hope to continue expanding my proficiency in Darija throughout the Boren Fellowship, I am very excited to focus on Tarifit this time around so that I may further engage with people in the region.”
As Tarifit is a language primarily learned in the home, Blankenship plans to utilize intensive tutoring, time with a host family and additional opportunities to build her language skills.
Onofre plans to enroll at the University of Jordan in Amman for his year as a fellow, which is currently scheduled for January through December 2022. He will graduate after completing his Boren Fellowship.
“The Boren Fellowship will allow me to become a strong Arabic speaker. I will combine my Gilman, Fulbright and CLS experiences to thrive as a Boren Fellow,” says Onofre. “I am super excited that I was given this opportunity to continue my language studies.”
Raines will study Persian and the local Tajik dialect to assist with her research in Tajikistan. “The Boren fellowship serves as a part of my doctoral research that centers on the intersection between modernization, gender and religious fundamentalism,” she says.
After earning a Ph.D., Raines plans to join the U.S. Foreign Service to produce policy-relevant research that will assist in government projects abroad as they relate to democratization and the advancement of women.
Sunabe, a Robertson Foundation for Government Fellow at Maxwell, will study in Taipei during the 2021-22 academic year.
“My Boren experience will be dedicated to language learning to improve my Mandarin proficiency and to learn about Taiwanese culture,” she says. “I am enthused and grateful to have been selected as a Boren Fellow, and look forward to growing my Mandarin language abilities to foster positive cross-cultural relations between the U.S. and China through a career with the U.S. Department of State.”