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Jeremy Hicks

OSU student receives Boren fellowship to study abroad

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Media Contact: Jeff Hopper | Communications and Media Relations Manager | 405-744-5827 | jeff.hopper@okstate.edu

An Oklahoma State University graduate student recently received a national award allowing for a yearlong immersion into a foreign country’s culture and language.

Jeremy Hicks, a master’s student in global studies with a focus in diplomacy and communication, was one of just over 100 recipients of a David L. Boren Fellowship, sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which is a component of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO). 

The fellowship will allow Hicks to study abroad in South Korea, learning the language and immersing himself in the nation’s culture.

“It’s an honor to be chosen as one of the recipients of this award,” Hicks said. “To be chosen out of the 245 applicants is a humbling experience, but also a validation of all the hard work and time I’ve put into my education and future career plans.”

NSEP is a federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. The Boren Awards exemplify this dedication by providing students with resources and encouragement to establish and develop language skills and cultural experience in locations critical to the future security and stability of the United States.

“The National Security Education Program has transformed how U.S. higher education approaches the study of foreign languages and cultures of the work and provides Americans opportunities to learn, grow and serve,” said Dr. Clare Bugary, director of DLNSEO.

Hicks will spend a year in South Korea, spanning from August 2024 to August 2025. During his time overseas, he hopes to develop a deeper understanding of South Korean culture, politics and language, which will be an invaluable experience, both personally and professionally.

Hicks is no stranger to the Boren awards as he received a Boren Scholarship, an award given to undergraduate students, in 2019 to travel abroad to Japan for a similar experience with the Japanese language and culture.

An interest in the Trilateral Alliance, a security pact between the U.S., Japan and South Korea, has fueled Hicks’ journey and is at the forefront of his career goals after graduation. He plans on becoming a foreign service officer in one of the Trilateral countries focused on public diplomacy. He believes that the role would allow him to serve as a liaison between the populations of each country and help them understand the importance and continued development of relationships between the countries.

“It would be a dream come true to be able to serve the State Department as a foreign service officer,” Hicks said. “I believe it is an opportunity for me to use my skills and knowledge of all three cultures to help each one understand the other and develop relationships that would be beneficial to all parties.”

To date, nearly 8,000 students have received Boren Awards and have been able to translate their knowledge of foreign languages and cultures into careers in support of critical agency missions throughout the federal government.

“The Boren Awards have provided me amazing opportunities,” Hicks said. “I would encourage any OSU student who is interested in learning a foreign language or developing a better knowledge of a foreign culture to apply for a Boren Award and spend time studying abroad. You never realize how big the world is until you travel outside of the country.”

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