Anthropology Student Wins Boren Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State

Lauren Marsh
A scholarship from the U.S. Department of State will send Lauren Marsh to China to achieve fluency in the Mandarin language.

Lauren Marsh, a senior in the Department of Anthropology, was awarded a prestigious Boren Scholarship, given by the U.S. Department of State to provide college students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to U.S. security.

Marsh, of Prattville, Ala. is a rising senior majoring in anthropology with minors in Chinese and public health. She will study in Chengdu, in the Sichuan province of China. She plans to complete the service requirement of the award by providing global public health aid with the Peace Corps, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Marsh has already spent a year helping children with serious health problems in a village near Beijing, as well as a summer in Nairobi, Kenya, where her interest in U.S. government global health jobs was sparked.

“Those experiences, along with my knowledge that I cannot achieve Mandarin language fluency without immersion, made me realize that the Boren Scholarship would be a great opportunity,” Marsh said. “My studies abroad will allow me to experience the culture of the various minority groups in rural southwestern China, to study advanced Mandarin language and to take elective courses in anthropology.”

Marsh is one of only 161 recipients of the scholarship nationwide. A record number of 1,014 undergraduate students applied for the 2012-2013 academic year awards.

The Boren Scholarships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program, a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.