Two students win Boren Scholarships for foreign-language study

Isabel Callejas is currently in Rwanda working with the
Florida State University chapter of Global Peace Exchange

Florida State University students are on a roll, as yet another prestigious scholarship is added to the record books. This time, the Boren Scholarship has been awarded to two students, Alena Ho and Isabel Callejas.

"Boren Scholars are awarded for undergrads to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests but underrepresented in study-abroad opportunities," said Meredith Simpson, interim director of Florida State’s Office of National Fellowships, which helps students pursue nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships.

Ho, a junior, and Callejas, a senior, are international affairs majors who are reaping the benefits of their hard work, as both will have the opportunity to put their studies in action. The scholarship itself offers a maximum of $10,000 for a semester and $20,000 for an academic year for each student to put toward program expenses in the country of study.

Ho will be studying Turkish in Istanbul for one year, furthering her ambition to one day become a Foreign Service officer and eventually become a United Nations official. Born in Vietnam and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Ho speaks three languages (Vietnamese, English and Japanese) and dreams of "contributing to the global initiative to eradicate the extreme poverty in developing nations by providing technical assistance in social, economic and environmental reform programs."

Callejas, who grew up in Nicaragua, will be studying Swahili in Tanzania for one year. Currently in Rwanda working with the Florida State University chapter of Global Peace Exchange, she is on track to fulfill her goal of mastering five languages before turning 30.

"Isabel and Alena are already amazing students," Simpson said. "The opportunity to study a less commonly taught language and live in another country will be a life-changing experience." The Boren Scholarship is a product of the National Security Education Program’s mission, which seeks to lead in development of the national capacity to educate U.S. citizens, understand foreign cultures, strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness and enhance international cooperation and security. To learn more about the Boren Scholarship, visit the Web site at