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35 minutes ago, ladyben-kenobi said:

Hey, everyone, I've been low key creeping on this thread since I submitted my application, and I figured maybe I can help paint a clearer picture of the applicant pool. I am a Sociology student with a strong background in History from the not incorporated territory of Puerto Rico and I am the only applicant from this region for the Boren Scholarship so you can imagine how hard this was for me considering that my Recommenders could not even submit their letters of recommendation because Puerto Rico  was not listed as a state at first, or even listed at all. We have one campus rep and he was in Paraguay during the five months I worked on my application, and I am the first applicant he's submitted. I applied to study Russian Language in Latvia. I am currently an upper intermediate speaker and there is no level of Russian language beyond A2 (Upper Introductory) offered in Puerto Rico, much less bilateral agreements with Russian-speaking institutions. As a result, I coordinated a study abroad for semester in St. Petersburg State University, to prepare for this, my great professor got me a Russian student to practice with and I attended a total of 3 hours of Russian per day plus began to coordinate activities on campus to promote Russian. After I came back from St. Petersburg, I was able to make some calls (also low key fight with the administration with my cohorts) as an Honor student on campus in order to allow Intermediate Russian to be given for the first time in my home institution during this semester. I applied to the Boren Scholarship because there is just no chance to reach an advanced level of Russian in Puerto Rico, I coordinate activities, tutor lower level students, and work with a nonprofit Russian Cultural Center here, so I'm super nervous especially since my essay  dealt with Russian Hybrid Warfare in the baltic states and how it affected U.S. interests ,therefore I had to include at least two paragraphs of context seeing as it is a very specific and uncommon theme. Hopefully y'all have a better idea of how diverse the applicant pool can be, good luck everyone! Keep in mind that everyone has a specific topic and not every essay can be treated the same, for example, it's certainly not the same thing to explain how hunger creates instability in a region and to explain how for example electronic warfare creates instability in a region.

Kenobi, 

   Best of luck with your application. I have at least three colleagues from my graduate program who submitted their Boren fellowship applications along basically, and in one case exactly, the same lines. Russia, hybrid warfare, Baltics. I don't think it's all THAT uncommon. Three people submitted similar applications at just my institution and several others are studying and or have study/worked in exactly the area you describe. Of course I am in a graduate national security and defense program for international affairs... so maybe it just seems that way from my perspective. We might have a ridiculously high concentration of people like yourself here. 

Edited by UnawareInGeneral
Typed too fast, made mistakes

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1 hour ago, UnawareInGeneral said:

Kenobi, 

   Best of luck with your application. I have at least three colleagues from my graduate program who submitted their Boren fellowship applications along basically, and in one case exactly, the same lines. Russia, hybrid warfare, Baltics. I don't think it's all THAT uncommon. Three people submitted similar applications at just my institution and several others are studying and or have study/worked in exactly the area you describe. Of course I am in a graduate national security and defense program for international affairs... so maybe it just seems that way from my perspective. We might have a ridiculously high concentration of people like yourself here. 

I might think this because I come from a place that doesn't have degrees in Eurasian affairs or Europe and I'm in my BA. Thanks for the heads up though, may the force be with us all.Hpefully it's  not that common in the Scholarship arena since they're graded differently. I'm not surprised in the fellowship arena, but in the scholarship it would surprise me because most Boren Scholarship applicants statistically apply for Kazakhstan or Russia. I'm actually slightly proud that an application from a small town girl in Sociology is similar to graduate students from Defense programs  C: welp, I tried my best, like I said, may the force be with us all. I genuinely don't think I'll get it considering that I've never had classes on national security because it's not available, just research and individual study. I'm sure there will be far more impressive applicants.

Edited by ladyben-kenobi
Too fast reply

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58 minutes ago, ladyben-kenobi said:

I might think this because I come from a place that doesn't have degrees in Eurasian affairs or Europe and I'm in my BA. Thanks for the heads up though, may the force be with us all.Hpefully it's  not that common in the Scholarship arena since they're graded differently. I'm not surprised in the fellowship arena, but in the scholarship it would surprise me because most Boren Scholarship applicants statistically apply for Kazakhstan or Russia. I'm actually slightly proud that an application from a small town girl in Sociology is similar to graduate students from Defense programs  C: welp, I tried my best, like I said, may the force be with us all. I genuinely don't think I'll get it considering that I've never had classes on national security because it's not available, just research and individual study. I'm sure there will be far more impressive applicants.

It sounds like you're a strong applicant, considering your dedication to studying Russian. I really don't think that a lack of national security courses is going to be a significant factor in whether you get the Scholarship, as long as you made a strong case in your essays indicating how your study plan ties to national security. 

On another note: During my political-military internship, I researched and analyzed Russian hybrid warfare. Considering current, unfolding events concerning Russia and a rise in gray zone conflict, I think that you chose a great language and region ... quite possibly the most critical language actually. Defense Secretary Mattis was just quoted as saying, "Russia is the number one threat to U.S. national security." Good luck with your studies, and hopefully you receive the Scholarship. 

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3 hours ago, ladyben-kenobi said:

I might think this because I come from a place that doesn't have degrees in Eurasian affairs or Europe and I'm in my BA. Thanks for the heads up though, may the force be with us all.Hpefully it's  not that common in the Scholarship arena since they're graded differently. I'm not surprised in the fellowship arena, but in the scholarship it would surprise me because most Boren Scholarship applicants statistically apply for Kazakhstan or Russia. I'm actually slightly proud that an application from a small town girl in Sociology is similar to graduate students from Defense programs  C: welp, I tried my best, like I said, may the force be with us all. I genuinely don't think I'll get it considering that I've never had classes on national security because it's not available, just research and individual study. I'm sure there will be far more impressive applicants.

Yeah I wouldn't assume you are at a disadvantage. They've awarded borens for programs of study that are.... oblique. No reason one that is clearly defined and well stated wouldn't get equal consideration. 

Mattis did in fact say he feels Russia is the number one threat to national security. Granted, Mattis is also a cold warrior and might think that if China had recently invaded Alaska and Hawaii. 

Still, with Russia so in the news lately it can't hurt your odds at least. Well.... unless the government actually has been infiltrated as the news media seems to think. On which case they aren't likely to approve study of ... themselves. :) 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, SwissMister said:

It sounds like you're a strong applicant, considering your dedication to studying Russian. I really don't think that a lack of national security courses is going to be a significant factor in whether you get the Scholarship, as long as you made a strong case in your essays indicating how your study plan ties to national security. 

On another note: During my political-military internship, I researched and analyzed Russian hybrid warfare. Considering current, unfolding events concerning Russia and a rise in gray zone conflict, I think that you chose a great language and region ... quite possibly the most critical language actually. Defense Secretary Mattis was just quoted as saying, "Russia is the number one threat to U.S. national security." Good luck with your studies, and hopefully you receive the Scholarship. 

I can honestly say I tried, I even had a student who won it and that is currently doing an MA in Eurasian studies and she said it was actually good. I think it's better not to expect anything regardless, but yes, I've been told that I've been total fighter for Russian language in my island and if it doesn't work out with Boren, I'm pretty sure I'll continue fighting for Russian Language. Another part of my essay was about the lack of regard in U.S Military Political analysis regarding the cultural sphere of Russians and ethnic Russians. I was blessed with two great Russian (particularly ethnic Russians from the poorest regions of the EU) professors here, one is currently giving the class we both fought for free of cost because my home public institution cannot afford to pay her due to budget cuts. My best friend whom I met while in St. Petersburg is also Russian but was raised in the poor parts of East Germany but finds himself staying there because he has a job although he hates it due to Russia's economic crisis so you can imagine the passion and enthusiasm I have for this topic. Sounds slightly crazy, right?

also, I'm very happy to meet someone who has also interned and researched this topic! What did you apply for and how did you get interested in this region? We might not get the scholarship/fellowship, but this board can certainly serve for some networking.

 

@UnawareInGeneral

I actually don't think they've awarded a Boren for Russian somewhere other than Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Russia according to the statistics. I kept that in mind during my essay, I guess that's also why I was surprised to hear the Baltics were getting a lot of love in the fellowship. I suppose they could just be used to lead to the shady conclusion of Moscow's supposed expansion game in the first essay. Anyways what did you apply for? What are your interests? I'm super curious.

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2 hours ago, ladyben-kenobi said:

@UnawareInGeneral

I actually don't think they've awarded a Boren for Russian somewhere other than Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Russia according to the statistics. I kept that in mind during my essay, I guess that's also why I was surprised to hear the Baltics were getting a lot of love in the fellowship. I suppose they could just be used to lead to the shady conclusion of Moscow's supposed expansion game in the first essay. Anyways what did you apply for? What are your interests? I'm super curious.

I don't know the exact content of their arguments for their fellowships, those people who have gone that route. There's been a fair bit of noise up there though that has resulted in a lot of reshuffling and renewed talk about NATO that wasn't a thing before Ukraine really. Most of my interest in Russia over the years has been at the intersection of Russia, Central Asia, and China. 

I applied for the Boren fellowship in Mandarin. I study dual use technology proliferation, law, and governance in the life sciences. The list of specific things that can fall under that umbrella is really broad. The specifics are not material for an online forum. 

(Not to sound mysterious, but they aren't)

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4 hours ago, ladyben-kenobi said:

... I'm very happy to meet someone who has also interned and researched this topic! What did you apply for and how did you get interested in this region? We might not get the scholarship/fellowship, but this board can certainly serve for some networking.

I applied for the Fellowship in Yogyakarta studying Indonesian and researching counterterrorism cooperation. I am in the application process for Boren in addition to a few federal jobs, so I'm hoping at least one of them works out. 

Edited by SwissMister

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11 hours ago, UnawareInGeneral said:

I don't know the exact content of their arguments for their fellowships, those people who have gone that route. There's been a fair bit of noise up there though that has resulted in a lot of reshuffling and renewed talk about NATO that wasn't a thing before Ukraine really. Most of my interest in Russia over the years has been at the intersection of Russia, Central Asia, and China. 

I applied for the Boren fellowship in Mandarin. I study dual use technology proliferation, law, and governance in the life sciences. The list of specific things that can fall under that umbrella is really broad. The specifics are not material for an online forum. 

(Not to sound mysterious, but they aren't)

Not shady at all, just kidding, I understand. I actually began Mandarin this semester because  of certain interests regarding the SCO and the Eurasian union. Mandarin is a ton of fun, especially since my tutor is always protesting because I switch between Russian and Spanish to achieve certain sounds. The intersection between China and Russia is really underrated considering that Russia had diplomatic contact with China before Europe (besides the Vatican). I certainly think it's due to the situation with the Ukraine, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most applicant applied to the Ukraine for Russian Language. How long have you been studying Mandarin? 

@SwissMister

wow, I think you'll certainly stand out. Note: I might think this because that language is not offered where I live and I've been to U.S. Mainland twice and I've never heard someone tell me I want to study Indonesian, I wish you a ton of luck with the federal job search especially with the freeze. Hopefully one of those applications will work out for you. 

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On 2/16/2017 at 6:11 AM, ladyben-kenobi said:

I wish you a ton of luck with the federal job search especially with the freeze. Hopefully one of those applications will work out for you. 

Just got some good news back on one of the applications. If it pans out completely, then I may be forced to pass on Boren for security reasons. But, I'm not going to count my chickens just yet. 

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7 hours ago, mattwigm said:

Did anyone apply for the Boren Scholarship for the AFLI program for Swahili in Tanzania?

Coincidently, James Barnett, a Brumley Next Gen Scholar at the Strauss Center at UT Austin (where I am a non-resident student fellow) received the Boren Scholarship for the AFLI program for Swahili in Tanzania last year. I recall hearing that he really enjoyed his program and time in Tanzania. 

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Hi everyone! I've followed the Boren forums in the past, and I applied for the Scholarship for this summer and fall. I applied to study Arabic in Morocco with a focus in counter extremism through community arts and culture preservation, and so with the cutting of arts programs, I am somewhat nervous. I study international affairs with a concentration in conflict resolution, so I was able to make quite the case there. I'm in the second portion of Intermediate Arabic currently, so I hope my foundation is strong enough for them to consider, and that there aren't as many applicants for Northern Africa. I do hope that my deep southern roots help add a bit to my application in terms of diversity, as many people from the South (though I am in DC now) aren't as keen on speaking Arabic. If you have any thoughts on how any of this could affect my application, I'd love to know.

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@jclark12 best of luck with your scholarship application. I don't know anyone who used the arts and culture as a part of their argument, but I know enough about history and foreign policy to suppose it's just as valid an argument as any so long as you sold it well. I come from a military and science background before I went to study policy so I just move in different circles probably. I have no idea how your region and country factor into the scholarship, I would assume it's the same as the fellowship but assumptions are just that. 

As far as "diversity" goes, I know that word comes up in a lot of scholarship and fellowship applications these days. I personally have never once seen the word diversity used in a single piece of material related to the Boren fellowships, is it something they emphasize as a factor in the scholarships? During the teleconference things they did in the run up to the deadlines the people giving the talked were asked a few times about "diversity" and their answer was always, if it doesn't contribute to why your country, language, and personal background all form one solid narrative as to "why choose you" it's not what they care about for this one. That is the same answer they gave to basically any question that could be summed up as "should I talk about X" if X is not part of the straight line between national security and you. They always said include it if you want, it shouldn't be the foundation of your argument though. 

That is all the insight (if it counts as insight) I have on that. 

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8 hours ago, SwissMister said:

Ok, thanks. This is my first go-round, so I'm a little antsy. 

When I first saw who it was from I thought it might be the budget update email. Seems that is still to come. 

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2 hours ago, UnawareInGeneral said:

When I first saw who it was from I thought it might be the budget update email. Seems that is still to come. 

So, from my understanding, the budget update email is no longer a reliable indicator for whether or not you will receive the Boren award. Is this correct? 

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2 hours ago, SwissMister said:

So, from my understanding, the budget update email is no longer a reliable indicator for whether or not you will receive the Boren award. Is this correct? 

Yes it would seem that it is not based on last year's results regarding who did and did not receive such an e-mail. The trend was there for multiple years showing that it was an excellent "soft" acceptance letter, 2016 seems to have messed that up. It's just one year however. If we see something similar this year then I think we can safely say, for the people applying in 2018 anyway, it's busted. 

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What a shame that they're no longer doing that. From the past forums, it seems like too many people were emailing the Boren staff and knew that we caught on to their informal finalist notification system.

We should be expecting something in the upcoming weeks.

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I might be doing that everyday if I wasn't distracted by CLS finalist notifications coming, quite literally it seems, in "late February". Whenever I find out about the CLS one way or the other I will switch to overthinking the Boren in its place. 

 

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Boren crosses my mind at least once per day. Strangely, as time progresses, I am feeling more at peace about either outcome. I would still like to know, though. 

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