Two Middlebury Institute students will receive Boren Fellowships, which provide up to $25,000 in scholarships for graduate students to learn “less commonly taught languages in areas of the world critical to American interests” and conduct security-related research national.
Joint MPA and MA student in International Education Management, Jordyn Dezago, will take intensive Mandarin lessons in National Taiwan University’s International Chinese Language Program and intern with the association in non-profit Taiwan Gender Equity Education. “Through my internship, I hope to learn more about the implementation and effects of Taiwan’s law on gender equality in education,” says Dezago. “This policy was introduced in 2004 and is a unique combination of anti-discrimination law and education reform – one of the first such government mandates in the world.”
Irene Fernald, a master’s student in international environmental policy, will study advanced Russian language and hopes to have the opportunity to work with professors and students from leading universities to dream up their ideal program to prepare students to solve the international environmental issues. She initially asked for a price to go to Russia and is now waiting for the program to release its list of approved Russian-speaking countries for 2023. “Wherever I go, I’m excited to conduct independent research and hone my Russian skills. ,” she says.
“My goal is to better understand the challenges and successes of [Taiwan’s gender inclusivity] policy, and how it might inform more inclusive education in the United States. —Jordyn Dezago MPA/MAIEM ’23
Dezago also hopes to gain insight into how Taiwan’s gender equity policies might be transferable to the United States. “Taiwan is one of the most inclusive places in the world, thanks to decades of activism. Many countries have anti-discrimination policies, such as Title IX in the United States, but Taiwan’s Gender Equity Education Act also requires that all public and private school curricula include comprehensive and inclusive education on gender equity and diversity. My goal is to better understand the challenges and successes of this policy, and how it might inform more inclusive education in the United States.
Fernald believes his Boren Award “will help prepare me to advance U.S. national security and global environmental justice as a Regional Environmental Officer in the U.S. Foreign Service and/or U.S. Agency for international development.In the short term, I am excited to enter the field of environmental policy with a focus on natural resource policy and management and am interested in pursuing a PhD in political ecology.
Both students expressed their gratitude to the faculty and staff at Middlebury Institute who assisted them during the Boren Award application process. “I am so grateful to our fantastic scholarship coordinators, Kirsten Nicholas and Dr David Wick,” says Dezago, “who spent countless hours supporting me through my application process, including putting together a panel of very helpful on-campus interviews, reviewing my essays and writing my endorsement. Finally, I am deeply grateful to MIIS Professors Qi Wang and Katherine Punteney, as well as my mentor, Professor Brien Ashdown, for writing my letters of recommendation.
Fernald adds: “Professor Jeff Langholz encouraged me to apply for Boren as it aligned with my career goals. The research proposal I have included was inspired by a proposal I developed in Professor Scott Pulizzi’s class. Professor Langholz, Professor David Wick and Kirsten Nicholas were particularly helpful throughout the application process.
The Boren Awards are an initiative of the US Defense Language and National Security Education Office. Students who accept the awards also commit to working for one year in the U.S. government civil service.