For Immediate Release
|Campbellsville University students Kristina Wallace, second from left, a senior from Hopkinsville, Ky., and Ashley Boyd, far right, a 2010 alumna from Simpsonville, Ky., built friendships with Muslims in Dearborn, Mich. during their mission trip over spring break.|
By Sarah Havener, student news writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Kristina Wallace, a 21-year-old senior from Hopkinsville, is the first Campbellsville University student, and one of only five students in Kentucky, to win the prestigious Boren Award, which allows her to study in a foreign country.
Out of 944 applicants, Wallace is one of only 151 students presented the award this year and the only person going to Azerbaijan. She first studied abroad two years ago as a participant in Campbellsville University’s English as a Second Language Institute’s summer service-learning program in Ukraine.
Wallace will begin study in September in Azerbaijan in language and culture studies. Her award is $15,000 for one year of study.
“This is a very exciting time for us as we have just been informed of our first winner of a Boren Award,” Bill Holmes, director of international education at CU, said.
Holmes said the federally funded awards provide area studies and strategic language training for United States students interested in national security-related work in the future.
“Kristina’s obvious aptitude for learning a language and comfortable competence in navigating the culture and surroundings of Ukraine led to her desire for this more intensive and lengthy experience,” he said. “She sees this as a steppingstone into her goal of federal employment.”
Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs, said Wallace was a work-study student in the Office of Academic Affairs.
“Kristina is an outstanding young lady,” he said. “We will miss her assistance greatly in the office this year. She is very dedicated to her academic pursuit. Kristina has a very friendly personality. She will be able to make friends and fit into the culture of Azerbaijan very easily.”
Holmes said the award is “extremely competitive so our student winning this year is a great accomplishment for her, CU and the political science department in particular.”
He said the awards require a mandatory service component afterward which makes them the “perfect vehicle” for entering agencies such as the CIA, FBI and others involved in national security.
Wallace said she chose Azerbaijan because she’s always wanted to travel and live for some time in the Middle East. She said she has never been there before and said, “It’s a very unique place to live for Americans.”
She said the scholarship encourages students to apply for obscure countries; Azerbaijan is located right above Iran, below Russia and next to Turkey. Wallace said her study will allow her the “privilege of being able to get an idea of what Azerbaijan and the Azeri people will be like.”
According to Wallace, the application process can take some time since the applicants must have a convincing proposal about why they want to go and what they will do with the experience. She said only about 16 percent of the 944 applicants are awarded the scholarship.
After completing her study, she will work with the Department of Defense or Homeland Security for a minimum of one year.
While in Azerbaijan, Wallace will be attending Khazar University, in the country’s capitol of Baku. She will be taking political science and foreign language classes in Azerbaijani, which is in the Turkic language family but distinct enough to be its own language. She is hoping to learn some Persian and Russian as well.
Wallace will also be a teacher while in Azerbaijan. The host family she is staying with for the duration requested an American student so the student could help their children with their English.
Wallace’s application and proposal were hers, but she said she received much of her support from Holmes from the Center for International Education.
“He was the one who introduced Boren to me and has helped me tremendously with the whole process,” she said. She also said Dr. Shawn Williams and Max Wise, assistant professors of political science at CU, helped with the application process.
Wallace is majoring in political science with a minor in homeland security. She is the daughter of Kevin and Kelly Wallace of Hopkinsville and is a 2008 graduate of Hopkinsville High School.
“She is a truly deserving student,” Holmes said. “This is something not only for her to be proud of but for the greater Campbellsville community. It is a great academic and personal achievement of one of our own.”
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate programs, 17 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.