Five Undergraduates Win Awards to Study Abroad

News subtitle

Students have won Boren, Gilman, and Critical Language scholarships.

Boren,Gilman, and Critical Language Scholarship winners
The five undergraduates who have received national scholarships for foreign language study are, clockwise from upper left, Emma Ratchford ’25, Nathaniel Attia ’27, Jessi Yu ’25, Liv Pyrczak ’27, and Diana D’Souza ’23. 

Five students have received national scholarships for foreign language study throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Nathaniel Attia ’27 and Emma Ratchford ’25 have each received Boren Scholarships to study languages and culture in Kazakhstan and Cape Verde, respectively. Boren Awards are an initiative of the U.S Department of Defence’s Defense Language and National Security Education Office. 

Diana D’Souza ’23 will use a Critical Language Scholarship to study in Taiwan, and Liv Pyrczak ’27 and Jessi Yu ’25 will use Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to study in Italy and the Baltics, respectively. Both scholarships are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. 

(Evan McMahon ’25 and Attia were also offered, but did not accept, a Critical Language Scholarship.)

Nathaniel Attia ’27

Boren Scholarship, Kazakhstan

Russian and government major

Richmond, Calif.

Through the Boren Scholarship, Attia, who began his study of the Russian language at Dartmouth, will spend the 2024-2025 academic year in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he plans to study Russian at Al-Farabi National University while living with a local family.

“I chose to pursue the Boren Scholarship because I believe that living abroad is the best, if not the only, way to become fluent in a foreign language,” Attia says. “There will never be a better time in my life than right now to live abroad and learn a new language. Besides helping my language goals, living abroad will expand my ‘civilizational’ perspective, allowing me to challenge my American biases and assumptions by learning to see the world from another civilization’s point of view.”

He hopes his Russian language skills will serve him well in his intended career in the U.S. Army, he says. “Russian fluency is in high demand in the defense sector. Knowing Russian will significantly enhance my ability to support allied land forces on the eastern flank of NATO and beyond.”

Diana D’Souza ’23

Critical Language Scholarship, Taiwan

Double major in government modified with economics and Asian societies, cultures, and languages

Edison, N.J.

D’Souza, who graduates from Dartmouth in June, will use her Critical Language Scholarship for immersive study of Mandarin this summer at Tamkang University in New Taipei City, Taiwan. 

“The CLS program will allow me to improve my Chinese language abilities rapidly,” says D’Souza, who plans to travel in the region before joining OC&C Strategy in Boston as an associate consultant.

“My aim is to eventually apply to a master’s program in a Mandarin-speaking country where I can continue to hone my language skills in preparation for a career centered on Taiwan, China, and technology,” she says. “I am incredibly grateful to the ASCL department for fostering my interest in East Asia. Professor Shucheng Zhang (Zhang Laoshi) played a big role in helping me feel comfortable speaking Mandarin and fostered my interest in pursuing a U.S.-China-related career. I’ve also found a strong community and home in the Chinese Language House.”

Emma Ratchford ’25

Boren Scholarship, Cape Verde

Government and environmental studies major; music minor

Jupiter, Fla.

Through the Boren Scholarship, Ratchford will spend the summer studying Portuguese and Kriolu, a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in Cape Verde.

Ratchford, who participated in the Department of Environmental Studies foreign study program in Namibia last fall, is particularly interested in how Cape Verde’s environment and natural resources—a major source of national income—affect its politics. “The loss of fish stocks is contributing to food shortages in Cape Verde that, in turn, exacerbate social tensions and jeopardize political stability,” she says. 

The scholarship “will allow me to form a unique understanding of the nation’s political situation and local sentiment towards the increasing role of international actors,” she says. “Being completely immersed in the language and culture of Cape Verde will allow me to apply my theoretical knowledge to actual situations and gain a more nuanced understanding of foreign policy challenges through hands-on experience.”

In addition to her language studies, Ratchford plans to teach English at a local summer camp and volunteer with Lantuna, an NGO focused on conservation of Cape Verdean land and marine biodiversity. 

Liv Pyrczak ’27

Gilman Scholarship, Italy

Considering a computational linguistics major and biology and/or theater minors

Niagara Falls, N.Y.

The Gilman Scholarship will support Pyrczak in participating in the Department of French and Italian’s Full Immersion in Rome Experience, a program she learned about during the First Year Summer Enrichment Program last summer, when FYSEP student director and past Gilman recipient Sarah Palermo ’24 spoke about her experience. 

“FYSEP is where I learned that there are opportunities for students like me to study abroad,” says Prycak, who is the first in her family to attend college. 

Pyrczak will complete Italian 1 during the immersion program. “I hope that this program helps me in my further studies in linguistics and to engage in cultural materials such as literature and opera in their source language,” she says.

Jessi Yu ’25

Gilman Scholarship, Baltics

Sociology and government double major

San Francisco, Calif. 

Yu will use her Gilman Scholarship to participate in the LEAP (Language, Energy, and Politics) foreign study program, jointly offered by the Department of Government and the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. 

Participants in the program spend the term exploring the evolving governance strategies, energy transitions, and the dynamics of language and culture throughout the Baltics, including Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. 

“I always knew I wanted studying abroad to be an important part of my college experience, and the time I have spent abroad have been some of the most rewarding and educational terms I’ve had,” Yu says. “I appreciate this scholarship’s role in allowing countless first-gen low-income students to study abroad.”


For more information about applying for these and other national and international scholarships, visit Dartmouth’s Fellowship Advising Office.

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