WSU Scholars Get National Boren Scholarship, Alternate Designation for 2013-14

CONTACT: Sarah Ann Hones, Director of the Distinguished Scholarships Program, WSU Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-8239,

MEDIA: Beverly Makhani, Director of Communications, WSU Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-6679,

PULLMAN, Wash.— Chinese major John Stark is Washington State University’s newest Boren Scholar to receive federal funding to study a foreign language abroad, and chemical engineering student Monica Bomber has been named a Boren alternate.

With his Boren funding, Stark, a senior, will further his mastery of Mandarin to fulfill his passion for language and prepare him “to be valuable to the U.S. in areas of defense and diplomacy.” Bomber, a sophomore, would use Boren support to study Swahili in class and throughout an internship, intent on learning to design cost-effective water purification plants in East Africa. Both are members of the Honors College at WSU.

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to American undergraduate college students to study less-commonly-taught languages in about 90 world regions critical to U.S. interests but underrepresented in study abroad. These include Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Among the nearly 65 preferred languages are Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili. For 2013-14, 161 of 947 undergraduates applying for Boren Scholarships received the award; in exchange for the funding, recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least one year.

Boren programs are sponsored by the National Security Education Program and named for David L. Boren, principal author of federal legislation that created the program in 1991. A former Democratic governor and state senator from Oklahoma, he was the longest serving chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence; currently he is president of the University of Oklahoma and co-chair of the nonpartisan U.S. President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

Scholar Stark Headed for Taiwan

Stark began his study of Mandarin/Chinese at WSU; Boren support will take him to the International Chinese Language Program at National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan. A graduate of Newport High School in Newport, Wash., he plans to work in the intelligence community.

Alternate Bomber Studies Swahili in Tanzania

In her Boren application, Bomber expressed a desire to study Swahili (aka KiSwahili) at the Knowledge Exchange Institute at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. A graduate of Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver, she will depart for the Tanzania program in late May, although she may not have a Boren Scholarship or funding in time. The eight-week summer program will be spent half in language and culture classes, and half at an internship with an organization involved in water resources. The experience aligns with her future academic plans in engineering and the Honors College back at WSU.

Creating and protecting sustainable water systems in developing countries is a goal of the U.S. Department of State, says Bomber, who plans to work one day in its Foreign Service sector as an economics officer.

For more information on the Boren and other prestigious scholarships, visit the WSU Distinguished Scholarships website at