The Boren Awards for International Study, funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), provide fellowships of $20K to $30K to provide undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to study the language and culture of countries normally underrepresented in U.S. study abroad programs. It’s an opportunity to learn a less commonly taught language such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, or Swahili, among others. In return, Boren Fellows are expected to work for at least one year in a Federal agency with national security responsibilities, such as the Departments of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department or the CIA. It’s no wonder the Boren Fellowship is a highly competitive award, providing an opportunity for both study abroad and a career in the Federal government.
The key to winning a Boren Fellowship is crafting an application that meets the needs of the program. The NSEP asks applicants to identify how their fellowship project will contribute to U.S. national security goals, as well further your academic and professional growth. Even though the NSEP has a broad definition of national security, going beyond issues such as terrorism and peacekeeping to include topics such as sustainable development and population growth, it’s imperative that your fellowship essay has a strong focus on an issue that is of critical interest to U.S. national security. First, be well-read on security issues that are in the news: the New York Times and The Economist are a good place to start.
In your essay, specifically discuss how your project will contribute to goals that will make Americans and the homeland safer in the short and long-term. Focusing on a topic in current events can be an advantage, however more obscure security topics may be eye-catching if you know the topic well. Reach out to experts in your proposed topic area who can comment on your essay, including professors, journalists, academics in think tanks, and Federal government employees working in national security. Even though the NESP allows a broad definition for national security, they will more likely choose an applicant with a clearly defined topic that will advance U.S. security interests. For example, if you are studying public health and are proposing a topic such as infectious disease control in developing countries, be sure to find a U.S. hook, such as the impact of the regional insecurity caused by infectious disease on anti-terrorism efforts or the U.S. role in UN peacekeeping.
Also, in your essays, do not forget to discuss what you plan to do in your career after the fellowship and be specific. If you are not sure what you plan to do, choose your ideal path and discuss that goal with confidence that you will reach it. There are not many opportunities like the Boren Fellowship, so discuss how this unique fellowship will help you reach that goal. An applicant with clearly defined career goals is much more likely to secure a fellowship than an applicant who expresses that they are simply exploring options.
The Boren Fellowship deadline is January 31, 2013 and the Boren Scholarship deadline is February 13, 2013. If you have any questions about developing a strong essay, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer them!
© Victoria Johnson 2011, all rights reserved.
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The Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc. (ISI) established the William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose to support graduating college seniors who are committed to engaging directly in the civic life of their community, such as contributing to the development of new jobs and opportunities for others. The Simon Fellowship program provides unrestricted grant awards in the amounts of $40,000, $20,000 and $10,000 to those graduating college seniors who have demonstrated passion, dedication, a high capacity for self-direction, and originality in pursuit of a goal that will strengthen civil society.
Past Simon Fellowship winner, Evan Hewitt, a graduate of the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University, proposed to found the first public library of Rwanda, the Gahini Library. English language books are an urgent need for the entire nation of Rwanda after the national secondary language officially changed from French to English in 2008. Teachers were required to teach in a language they didn’t know and are struggling as much as young students. The Gahini Library is helping to serve a community of over 2,000 students in a building donated by the Anglican Gahini diocese.
“[Rwandans] need books and we have books,” says Hewitt. With the library, his aim is “to take all the books that people are just throwing away or ignoring in the US and put them in a place where they’re going to be precious resources.” Read more.
Are you a graduating senior with a noble idea like Ewan? The next deadline for the William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose is January 17, 2012.
I just came across a dream opportunity for students of botany or horticulture: The Botanical Research Institute of Texas announced a call for applications for its 2012 Ian Leese Fellowship in Horticulture for a summer internship at the renowned Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK. The Fellow receives a one-time stipend of $5,000 during the three month summer fellowship.
Last year’s Fellow, Kristin Beuke, a botany major at the University of North Texas who is passionate about growing orchids, was assigned to the Kew’s Great Glasshouses & Training Section. She provided plant maintenance in the Tropical Nursery while furthering her botanical studies.
Founded in 1987, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) based in Fort Worth, Texas, is an international, scientific research and learning center focused on conservation, knowledge sharing, and studying the diversity of plant life.
“BRIT is taking a leading role in the advancement of botanical research and knowledge sharing in the US by awarding this fellowship at an early and formative stage of a person’s career,” says Ms. Emma Fox, Principal, School of Horticulture, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.
Applications are made by completing Kew’s Horticultural Internship Application by March 15, 2012.
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Code for America recruits talented web developers, designers, and entrepreneurs through its fellowship program to leverage the power of the internet to make governments more open and efficient. Fellows are competitively selected and are paid to work on innovative tech projects in cities such as Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington DC, and Boston. In doing so, they become civic leaders able to realize transformational change in government with technology.
In January, the fellows receive a one month orientation program at CfA’s Bay Area headquarters, including a guest speaker series with leaders in both government and the web industry. In February, fellows will be embedded on-site in their assigned cities, working with city officials hands-on to understand their needs and develop the project. See the 2011 11-month program schedule. Fellows receive a stipend of $35,000, travel expenses, and healthcare benefits.
Jennifer Pahlka, Executive Director of CfA, wrote:
“Our fellows are trained to ask questions first, code later. Throughout the year our teams in Seattle and Philadelphia conducted extensive, on-the-ground user research, developing a deep understanding of how to empower local civic leaders. What they learned was that there was a great amount of energy and enthusiasm in both cities for civic participation, but they lacked some modern tools to turn those ideas into action.” Read more.
Sounds very cool to us. We hope there will be a Code for New Zealand one day!
Everywhere we go, Ryan and I meet exceptional people who have been awarded fellowships. Today I met Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, the Founder of Build Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people build safer, earthquake-resistant housing in China, Indonesia and Haiti. The organization was seed-funded in 2004 with an Echoing Green Fellowship, which provides support to emerging social entrepreneurs. In 2009, Dr. Hausler was also named an Ashoka-Lemelson Fellow, an award for innovators who adapt a technology for use as a social change tool. To date, Build Change has helped build almost 18,500 homes and trained more than 4,000 construction professionals and school children.
Are you a social entrepreneur with an exceptional idea? There is a wide range of fellowships and awards for talented people looking to solve the world’s most difficult problems , and we look forward to adding these fellowships to the ProFellow database!
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Our step-by-step guide for a competitive fellowship application
1. Create a plan
2. Project proposal ideas
3. Talk to current / former fellows
4. Prepare an effective resumé
5. Find a host institution
6. Write a compelling personal statement
7. Prepare a strong project proposal
8. Get great recommendation letters (P1)
9. Get great recommendation letters (P2)
10. Nail the individual and group interviews