Anh Le '16 Wins Prestigious Boren Award
When Anh Le ’16 chose the University of Redlands, she knew it was a school where she would grow academically and personally.
She was right.
Anh’s first two years at Redlands have been filled with academic distinction, international service, and research. In June, Anh will travel to Beijing, China as the University’s first-ever recipient of the Boren Scholarship Award for International Study.
“I want to see the world,” Anh said of her pursuit to earn a B.S. degree in global business, which emphasizes not only business, but language, history, politics, national cultures and quantitative skills. It is one of the University’s most challenging degrees, according to Prof. Jack Osborn, her advisor in the program and for the Boren award.
The Boren Scholarship is the next logical step in Anh’s global career trajectory.
Vietnam-born Anh has lived with her mother in what she described as a “highly immigrant population” of Rosemead, California since they immigrated to the United States in 2001.
She saw Redlands as an opportunity to experience “a change and a challenge,” and was drawn to the award-winning Global Business program because it offered flexibility to pursue a variety of global government and business careers.
Anh—who is fluent in both Vietnamese and English—received her first award as a rising sophomore. She traveled to Vietnam in 2013 as a University of Redlands Hanson Summer Service Scholar to work with marginalized children.
“I was able to experience the actual city of Ho Chi Minh and was much more independent than when I visited family there. I rode public transportation, and I had never done that before.
“I lived with other volunteers in a dorm—a lot of people who were volunteering from around the world—and learned about their cultures.”
Anh said she always intended to study for one year abroad in China as part of her academic career at Redlands. Once approved, she applied for the Boren Scholarship.
“When I started to research it, I saw I was a fit because of my desire to study abroad long-term and to learn the Mandarin language.”
The Boren award application process was more demanding and rigorous than Anh anticipated, but she said she is grateful for it.
“Through the research I had to do, I was able to learn about what I am getting myself into. Before, I had only looked at what I liked about working in different countries. This research allowed me to look at everything, and to identify how I need to better myself to do this job.”
Anh credits Prof. Osborn and Adjunct Prof. Ted Pearson for helping her through the process and said without them, the award would not have been possible for her.
“It might sound generic, but it is true. The faculty are here for you. They get to know you on a personal level so they can best advise you.”
Prof. Osborn guided Anh through the application process and formed the committee that evaluated her as an applicant for the Boren award.
“If you demonstrate to Prof. Osborn that you are willing to put in the effort, he will put in as much effort or more to help you reach your goals.”
Anh will spend the 2014 summer in Beijing mastering the Mandarin language on her Schroeder Summer Language Scholarship. She will then study through the academic year in Beijing as a Boren Scholar.
She will also continue her commitment to service. At Redlands, Anh was involved in Rotaract—the University arm of Rotary International—and worked on fundraising for individuals in developing countries who need surgeries, wheelchairs and other resources. During her time in China, Anh will volunteer at the Migrant Youth Foundation.
“Because volunteering here and in Vietnam was so amazing for me, I want to experience some of that again in China. What I hope to take from China is what I took from Vietnam—a broader perspective of the culture and the ability to compare the cultures of China, Vietnam and the U.S.”
The Boren Scholarships fund study abroad in areas of the world critical to U.S. interests that are underrepresented in study abroad. This merit-based, competitive award is the highest given to a sophomore-year student by the U.S. Department of Defense. About 868 students applied for the scholarship which was ultimately awarded to 165 sophomores.
David L. Boren is the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program (NSEP) and the Boren Awards for International Study, including the Boren Scholarship for undergraduate students and Boren Fellowship for graduate students. The awards are funded by the NSEP.
“The undergraduate Boren is a prestigious reward because it focuses on the most difficult languages which are of national interest to our country, and is an open merit-based process competitive with all universities and colleges,” Osborn said. “Anh is the first University of Redlands student to win this award, and it brings additional credit to our Global Business program.”
Osborn said the NSEP is highly selective.
“Anh had a combination of positive attributes including that her continued pursuit of learning the Mandarin language, funded by the Boren award, would be her third language,” Osborn said. Her intensive language study, combined with her service work and pursuit of a challenging degree were clear evidence to the selection committee, he said.
Learn more about the Boren Award for International Study.
Learn more about the University of Redlands Global Business program.
Written by: Jennifer M. Dobbs
Posted: June 11, 2014