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Two Win Boren Scholarships to Study Critical Languages

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Brenda Maldonado will spend the next year in Senegal to study French and Wolof.
Edson deOliveira will travel to Brazil next year to study the country's medical language and practices.

Two Nebraska Wesleyan University students have each been awarded the prestigious Boren Scholarship, which will send them abroad for one year to develop language skills.

Edson deOliveira, a senior biology major from Omaha, has won a Boren Scholarship to study in Brazil, and Brenda Maldonado, a senior French major from Sargent, has won a Boren Scholarship to study in Senegal.

Boren Scholarships provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of our country. This year 750 undergraduate students applied for a Boren Scholarship with 171 winning awards.

deOliveira said Brazil will provide him the opportunity to study medical language and observe how medicine is practiced outside of the U.S. Through patient interaction at the Hospital-School of Tropical Diseases of Alagoas and collaborations with health administrators at a Brazilian national health institute, de Oliveira hopes to gain insight to health care policies pertaining to infectious diseases in Brazil.

“After a year of cultural immersion and research, I will be in an ideal position to apply for medical school and fulfill my career goal of becoming an infectious disease specialist,” he said.

Maldonado will travel to Senegal to study French and the African local language, Wolof. She will also use the experience to study Western Africa’s education system. Maldonado traveled to Switzerland earlier this year to study its education reform.

“Despite its progress, many West African countries suffer from low literacy rates and access to education,” she said. “Having the unique opportunity to live and study in Senegal will help me best understand the educational and political challenges the culture faces.”

Maldonado plans to pursue a career as a policy analyst or international ambassador.

Twenty-one Nebraska Wesleyan students have won Boren Scholarships.