The Turkish Flagship Program is pleased to announce that two of its students, Sabrina Tish and Rachael Wehrle, have won the prestigious Boren award, a scholarship that offers up to $20,000 in funding for a yearlong study abroad program in exchange for one year of work for the U.S. federal government after graduation.
Both Sabrina and Rachael will be using the award to fund their Capstone year abroad during the 2017-18 academic year at the Azerbaijan University of Languages in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Capstone year is a component of the Turkish Flagship Program where students spend a full academic year abroad, enrolled in content courses as well as rigorous Turkish language study.
Upon hearing the news, Rachael was overjoyed and excited about the opportunities the award has opened up for her: “I was incredibly relieved,” she said. “It’s a great way to end my time here at IU with this award under my belt. Now I can go into Capstone with a little bit of financial security.”
Rachael is a senior from Fort Wayne, Indiana studying Journalism with a minor in Central Eurasian Studies. She joined the Turkish Flagship Program after her sophomore year when she participated in Indiana University’s Summer Language Workshop and spent the summer in Baku with the Critical Language Scholarship program.
The career opportunities that being a Boren scholar can open up are some of the things that excited Sabrina: “Winning the Boren opens the door to many career opportunities in the federal government,” she said. “Of course, I still have to show initiative when applying for these jobs, but having the recognition of being a Boren scholar eases the process and provides access to opportunities that I may not have known about otherwise.”
Sabrina, a senior from Cary, Illinois, joined the Turkish Flagship Program after eating at a local Turkish restaurant sparked her interest, and she became captivated by the culture and politics of Turkey. She is an International Studies and Central Eurasian Studies double major and dreams of working in the U.S. Foreign Service after graduation.
Rachael was grateful for the other resources on campus she was able to use to help refine her application: “I spoke with Katie Saur, who is the Boren campus representative for IU and an adviser at the Office of Overseas Study, and she sifts through a lot of Boren essays,” she said. “My time with her was really helpful because I was able to reorganize my essays so they were powerful from the start.”
Sabrina appreciated the help the Turkish Flagship Program was able to give her while completing the Boren application: “I think being a Turkish Flagship student contributed tremendously to winning the award,” she said. “Without the support and help of the program staff, I don’t think I would have even found the award, let alone complete the form and eventually be named a Boren scholar.”
Rachael and Sabrina both will be spending some time in Bloomington this summer preparing for their Capstone year that starts in September. Evan Lee, another Turkish Flagship student who is pursuing an International Studies major and Central Eurasian Studies minor, will join them for the Capstone year in Baku.