Student awarded prestigious Boren Scholarship for study abroad

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of scholarship recipient Jared Sipes in Russia.


KALAMAZOO—A Western Michigan University student from Kalamazoo is studying in Russia this fall through a prestigious federal scholarship.

Jared Sipes, a senior from Kalamazoo, received a $4,200 David L. Boren Scholarship to spend the fall semester at Saratov State University, where he is continuing his Russian language studies.

Sipes was selected as one of 161 Boren Scholarship recipients for fall 2013 out of a historic high of 947 applicants from around the country. 

He and his fellow Boren Scholars are studying Arabic, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili and some 30 other languages while living in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Jared Sipes

Sipes, WMU's second Boren Award recipient in the past three years, is a graduate of Bangor (Mich.) High School and a transfer student from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He is majoring in global and international studies and minoring in Russian.

In addition to being a Boren Scholar, Sipes is one of only 800 students in the nation and three at WMU to have received a highly prized Gilman Scholarship for the 2013-14 academic year. He received $5,000 through that U.S. Department of State scholarship program.

Gilman Scholarships support those who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad, such as community college students; students with disabilities, diverse ethnic backgrounds or high financial need; and students studying engineering, the sciences or another underrepresented field.

About the Boren Awards

Boren scholarships and fellowships, collectively known as the Boren Awards, give both undergraduate and graduate students the chance to develop their language and international skills in areas of the world that are critical to America's continued security and stability.

Sponsored by the National Security Education Program, they are part of a major federal initiative aimed at increasing the number of U.S. citizens who possess foreign language and international skills. Scholars receive up to $20,000 while fellows receive up to $30,000, but all Boren Award winners agree to work in the federal government for at least one year.

"Never in our history has it been more important for America's future leaders to have deep understanding of the rest of the world," says David Boren, who as a U.S. senator laid the groundwork for the legislation that created the National Security Education Program. "As we seek to lead through partnerships, respect for and understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential."

More than 5,000 students have received Boren Awards since 1994, and many of these former scholars and fellows are today contributing to the critical missions of U.S. government agencies in Washington D.C. and around the world.

Application assistance available

WMU provides assistance to apply for grants that support long-term linguistic or cultural immersion in a foreign country. Students are encouraged to learn more by contacting Dr. Michelle Metro-Roland at or (269) 887-5890. 

Metro-Roland is director of faculty and global program development and the University's advisor for students wishing to apply to most of the nation's competitive scholarship programs that have an international focus, including the Fulbright, Boren and Gilman programs.

For more information about the Boren Awards, visit that program's website at For more information about on- and off-campus funding assistance for studying or conducting research overseas, visit or call the study abroad office at (269) 387-5890.