Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University Honors Student Receives Prestigious Boren Scholarship

eagle headGeorgia Southern University honors student Ryan Pickrell has been awarded the prestigious National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Scholarship. As part of the scholarship, Pickrell will be required to work in the federal government in a position with national security responsibilities for a minimum of one year. The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State or any element of the intelligence community are priority agencies.

Pickrell, a History major who is a University Honors Program student and Ruffin Scholar, will use the award for study at Huazhong Normal University in Wuhan, China during the 2009-2010 academic year.

‘This is both an amazing and a critical opportunity. Now, rather than the distant tomorrow, is the time to attempt to make a difference in the world. Hopefully, by trying to connect the cultures of America and China, I can be a part of that difference,” said Pickrell.

While in China, Pickrell will take courses in Chinese history and culture, as well as further his study of Mandarin through a sequence of intermediate and advanced Chinese language classes. In addition, he will conduct research on Wuhan’s economic and political development for his Honors Thesis.
Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), whichfocuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. NSEP draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.

In addition to his studies, Pickrell is well aware of his responsibility as a citizen ambassador. ‘The decisions we make now will define the future, and I intend to be a part of the movement to foster positive relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. I plan to work as hard as I can to ensure an optimistic future between our two countries,” said Pickrell.

The University Honors Program serves as the campus clearinghouse for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships and is committed to helping prepare all Georgia Southern University students for awards such as the Boren.

‘I am extremely grateful for all the assistance and support I received from both the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the University Honors Program. Without the guidance of individuals such as Dr. Olivia Edenfield, Dr. Steven Engel and Bob Frigo, I would not have been presented with this extraordinary opportunity,” said Pickrell.

After graduating from Georgia Southern University, Pickrell plans to return to China for graduate school where he will pursue a degree in International Relations. He is ultimately interested in using his educational background and language skills to work with the Department of State.

The University Honors Program at Georgia Southern University provides a small college atmosphere in the context of a large comprehensive university. The program is designed to foster the development of a critical sense of inquiry, a spirit of creativity, a global perspective and an ethic of civic responsibility.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers 115 degree programs serving nearly 18,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit:

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