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College of Arts & Sciences Grad Receives Boren Scholarship to Address Critical Future Security Concerns

By UM News

College of Arts & Sciences Grad Receives Boren Scholarship to Address Critical Future Security Concerns

By UM News
Neuroscience Major Maura Lapoff will Study in Jordan through Prestigious Government Program

2015 College of Arts & Sciences graduate Maura Lapoff has been awarded a Boren Scholarship to study in Jordan during the upcoming academic year.

Lapoff – a neuroscience major with minors in chemistry, international studies and Arabic studies – studied in Istanbul, Turkey, in spring/summer of 2013.

“I wanted to study internationally again and wanted to continue to work on Arabic in a native Arabic speaking region,” Lapoff said. “I am also really interested in international studies and foreign policy, so this was a great way to combine this with my language interests and science interests.”


David L. Boren Scholarships provide students with resources and encouragement to acquire languages skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of our nation.

Lapoff is interested in finding ways to improve treatment for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly refugees and asylum seekers.

“Ideally, I would like to attend medical school and work in international health care,” she said, adding that her research experience in the lab of Professor of Neurology Thomas Sick piqued her “interest in the relationship between physical trauma, psychological trauma and the environment.”

Lapoff is a passionate supporter of education abroad, serving as a co-Lead Global Ambassador for the Study Abroad Office. “Basically, my life has been about study abroad since I got back from Turkey,” she said.

“I think there are only so many things you can learn in a classroom and studying internationally gives you the chance to learn about new things or things you already know but from a different perspective, which is an essential skill to have. You also learn a lot about yourself in the process,” she said. “Studying internationally helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses in new and stressful situations and I believe I have become a better person for it.”

The Boren program is sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a federal initiative designed to increase foreign language and international relations skills among U.S. citizens. For this year, the program received 750 scholarship applications, and gave just 171 awards.

The scholarships are named for University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who, as a U.S. Senator, authored the legislation creating the NSEP.

“To continue to play a leadership role in the world, it is vital that America’s future leaders have a deep understanding of the rest of the world,” he said. “As we seek to lead through partnerships, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”

May 11, 2015