Christina Hui ’18 and Xiaojing Zeng ’19 are among the newest Boren Scholars, supporting a federal initiative to deepen the pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.
Hui will learn Mandarin at the East China Normal University in Shanghai and work as a research analyst intern at the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy. The latter builds on Hui’s field research on environmental issues in China and work on climate justice initiatives with United Nations entities during her time at Swarthmore. Zeng will travel to Senegal next spring to learn the native language of the Wolof people.
The National Security Education Program (NSEP) sponsors the scholarship, which provides students funding and encouragement to develop language skills and experiences in countries critical to the stability of the U.S. This is the third consecutive year in which two Swarthmore students were chosen; learn more about the 2016 and 2015 winners.
“The threat of climate change is a global issue. Its impact doesn't respect national borders,” says Hui, a political science major from Novi, Mich. “Because we exist in a common context, there will be no solution to climate change without close collaboration between the U.S. and China. And it is my hope as a Boren scholar to promote and facilitate a common ground between the two countries.”
“This award will give me the opportunity to not only develop the necessary skills for a future in public service, but to also be connected with other students who are passionate about the same thing,” says Zeng, a French and political science major from Minneapolis, Minn. “Through my study abroad experience, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the world around me and how the United States fits into the international community.”
In exchange for funding, Boren scholars agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year. Zeng is interested in working for the Peace Corps, before securing a position as a foreign service officer in the State Department. Hui anticipates a role with the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Global Climate Change, working on the Enhancing Capacity for Low Emissions Development Strategies program to lend technical capacity to 25 countries.