McLaughlin, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a double-major in international studies and history. She was motivated to apply for the award because she saw a need in academic scholarship about the country.

“It is located at a crossroad, caught between Russia and Iran,” said McLaughlin. “This region is important and the country can offer critical insight into a region which hasn’t been studied to any great extent.”

A previous U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship winner, McLaughlin said visiting Azerbaijan last summer had a profound effect on her view of the area.

“One of the most significant experiences I had was meeting an internally displaced person from the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict region,” said McLaughlin. “[The region] needs more people working on the peace and conflict resolution process to avoid more armed conflict between two already hurting and traumatized nations.”

When on campus, McLaughlin is involved in various organizations including the international club, history club and honors association. She spent the 2017 spring semester at the University of Utah as part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program.

“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,” said University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who as a U.S. Senator was the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name. “As we seek to lead through partnerships, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”

The Boren Scholarships are an initiative of the National Security Education Program and provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Press Contact
Hanna DeLange
Contact Email
Contact Website website