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Pepperdine Students Awarded Scholarships on National Security
As National Security becomes a growing source of national "insecurity," two Pepperdine University students may have a hand in the solution. The National Security Education Program (NSEP) recently chose Seaver College sophomore Zackary Licudine ('11) and graduate Wrenn Yennie ('07) as recipients of David L. Boren awards.
The NSEP David L. Boren Scholarship (for undergraduate students) and the NSEP David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship are intended to provide support to U.S. students who will pursue the study of languages and cultures that are critical to U.S. national security and underrepresented in study abroad programs.
Licudine's scholarship will enable him to travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he will live with a local family while studying the language and culture. Yennie will head to Japan, where she will spend 11 months studying population decline. Both have committed to work for the government in a position with national security responsibilities for a year upon their return.
Alexander Diener, assistant professor of geography in the international studies and languages division at Seaver College, serves as the faculty liaison to the Boren awards. "The Boren award is a terrifically valuable fellowship in that it seeks to draw in America's most qualified and ambitious young people to engage in critical and difficult languages so we may have a measure of expertise to inform our foreign policy and national security interests in the future," Diener says.
A pre-business administration major, Licudine is one of 150 students who were chosen from a pool of 697 undergraduate candidates for the David L. Boren Scholarship. His interest in national security stems from three years serving as a police explorer with the Newport Beach Police Department. When he read the qualifications for the Boren award, Licudine deemed it "a perfect fit."
Licudine has been awarded $20,000 to study in Argentina, which he believes is at an interesting political crossroads. "The country has such a dynamic history of dictatorships, and I'm interested to see how the new democracy and the first female president [Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, elected October 2007] affect how the country runs, especially in the wake of the big economic crash in 2002," he says.
The NSEP's emphasis on language proficiency also appeals to Licudine, who will participate in a home-stay program while in Buenos Aires. "I'm really looking forward to meeting the family I'll be staying with," he comments. "I think it will be the perfect place for me to really grasp the Spanish language."
Yennie is one of 100 graduate students awarded the David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship from a pool of 400 applicants. She has been gifted $22,300 for her travels to Japan.
Yennie's interest in Japanese culture developed when she first visited the country at age 16; the stark population decline has since entered her global consciousness. "Within 50 years the Japanese labor force is expected to shrink to half of its current size," Yennie explains. "In the developed world, such serious demographic shifts can pose serious security concerns by altering the balance of economic power."
Fluent in two languages and familiar in seven, Yennie graduated from Seaver College in 2007 and currently studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. There she is pursuing a master's degree in international policy studies with a specialization in Asian security studies.
Yennie also completed an internship at the United States Government Accountability Office in Washington, D.C. and now serves as a research assistant at the James Martin Center in the East Asia Nonproliferation Program.
"I had always thought about going into foreign service, especially after my internship working in the public sector," she says. "The federal service requirement was a big motivating factor for me applying for the Boren."
For more information on the David L. Boren awards, please contact Alexander Diener at (310) 506-7740.