Leslie Parker (Dierks, Ark.) has been awarded a National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Fellowship to study in Brazil starting in February 2021.
For one year, Parker will study Portuguese at Caminhos Language Centre in Rio de Janeiro. Additionally, he will volunteer at Mais Caminhos, an NGO that provides educational opportunities and financial assistance to local students. In 2020, the national nominating panel selected 119 Boren Fellows from graduate applications.
Parker joins previous University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service students Megan Grubb (’20), Sean O’Keefe (’14), and John Delurey (’14) as Boren Fellowship recipients.
“My career goals include serving as a Foreign Service Officer for the Department of State,” Parker said. “I previously lived in Brazil in 2018 for six months studying abroad and completing an internship program.”
Parker, who recently completed his first year at the Clinton School, is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in business administration. He served as an international management intern with Cooper Standard, a global automotive supplier in Brazil before enrolling at the Clinton School.
Parker was part of a team of first-year Clinton School students that recently concluded their Practicum project work with the Transportation Alliance Project, a program that provides individuals experiencing homelessness with free, reliable transportation. The group spent the year researching the effectiveness of the program through a combination of focus groups and interviews with participants in the program and case managers from the partner nonprofits.
David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. Boren Awards provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the nation. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.
“The National Security Education Program,” according to Dr. Michael A. Nugent, NSEP Director, “is helping change the U.S. higher education system and the way Americans approach the study of foreign languages and cultures.”
“To continue to play a leadership role in the world, it is vital that America's future leaders have a deep understanding of the rest of the world,” said former U.S. Senator David Boren, the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name. “As we seek to lead through partnerships, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”
Since 1994, over 6,000 students have received Boren Awards. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena, and program alumni are contributing to the critical missions of agencies throughout the federal government.
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