Laura Curry has never been abroad, but next year she’ll have the opportunity to study in Tanzania as West Virginia University’s 26th Boren Scholar.
As a history major in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Curry has concentrations in American, African, Asian and Latin American history but developed a special interest in Africa. She has a minor in business administration and is a student in the Honors College.
“As I began researching Tanzania, I read about not only the natural beauty of the region but also the kindness and warmth of Tanzanians,” Curry said. “Through my world history classes, I began to realize that what little history of the non-western world, and Africa specifically, I had been taught was inaccurate or incomplete at best.”
The Boren Scholarship promotes linguistic and cultural immersion. Curry will be learning Swahili while learning about the history and culture of East Africa.
“My two African history courses this semester have taught me so much about the rich and complex history of this continent as well as reorienting my worldview,” she said. “The experience of living abroad will be invaluable to me because one day I hope to partner with local organizations to promote human rights.”
The African Flagship Languages Initiative offers Boren Scholars intensive language study at the University of Florida. Curry will study there this summer before she departs for Tanzania for the academic year.
“This is a highly competitive process and it’s rewarding to see WVU students successfully compete with students from all over the country,” said David Hauser, teaching assistant professor and Boren Scholar faculty advisor. “Laura will gain valuable experience while serving a critical need of the U.S. government for workers with unique language skills.”
Recipients of the Boren Scholarship are required to work for the federal government in the national security area. Curry, who is from Cincinnati, plans to work in immigration, foreign service and eventually for the United States Agency for International Development.
Students who are interested in applying for the Boren Scholarship or any other nationally competitive awards should contact the ASPIRE Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.