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Two Students Offered Boren Awards to Study Abroad

Two students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have been named Boren Award recipients.

Boren Scholarships (for undergraduate students) and Boren Fellowships (for graduate students) provide recipients with up to $25,000 for language and cultural study in countries critical to the security and stability of the U.S. Recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least a year after graduation.

Meet the recipients


Calista Boyd of Cookeville, Tennessee, is a PhD student in political science, studying comparative politics and advanced methodology. Boyd will use the Boren Fellowship to continue enhancing her Arabic language skills while supporting research on political organizations’ interactions with popular social movements in Jordan.

“It is through the patience and support I have received from the Department of Political Science, the Arabic language faculty and staff, and my advisor that I am where I am today in my graduate career and Arabic-learning journey,” said Boyd. “Participating in the in Jordan for the past eight months has been a huge component in my personal development, having learned so much from building connections with locals and other scholars here, navigating Jordanian political and social realities, and experiencing major world events outside of the U.S. I am so excited to be able to return in the fall and continue to grow as a person.”


Jerry Custalow of Philadelphia is a junior. He is double majoring in language and world business (with a concentration in Japanese) and international business with a minor in sociology. Custalow will use his Boren Scholarship to spend an academic year studying at Kansai Gaidai in Osaka, Japan, while living with a host family and learning the country’s customs and traditions.

“For the longest time, I have struggled to figure out what I want to do with my life,” said Custalow. “The Boren Award has challenged me to dig deep and find out what it is I want to do. Because of the Boren, I have opportunities and a drive to take advantage of them.”

“We couldn’t be prouder of Calista and Jerry, and we are delighted for their upcoming experiences abroad,” said Meredith Malburne-Wade, director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. “We’re especially excited to see two very different candidates — in terms of degrees, languages and future plans — both receiving an amazing opportunity through the Boren. Calista and Jerry demonstrate the depth and breadth of what UT and the Boren have to offer.”

UT’s Undergraduate Research and Fellowships unit supports students as they apply for a wide range of nationally competitive fellowships, including the Boren. UT students who would like more information can visit the and schedule an appointment to meet with its staff.


Maggie Palmer (865-974-3993, )