Nicole Anderson chosen as 2012-13 Boren Fellow

Having finished U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School and one year of law school, Nicole Anderson, has another challenge in mind: learning Mandarin Chinese in eight months. As a 2012-13 Boren Fellow at National Taiwan University, she will get that chance.

The great news arrived in the middle of exams. “The contracts final was three hours of stress and right after I hit “send” I got an email pop-up about the Boren Fellowship and my award package. I started screaming. Hopefully, I did not disturb anybody,” she said.

The Fellowship provides funding for Anderson to take 415 hours of language instruction in addition to an independent study course, classes in maritime and international law, and volunteer work. When she applied, Anderson was free to name her country of interest. “I chose to study in Taiwan because of its significance in maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and promoting democracy in the region,” said Anderson, who is attending law school as a U.S. Marine on nonactive duty with the goal of being a Judge Advocate. “The Boren Fellowship will provide me with the necessary language exposure and international legal knowledge for my future role as a military officer and Judge Advocate.” The Law School’s exchange program with National Taiwan University also means that the credits she completes at NTU will count toward her juris doctorate at Penn State.

"The Boren Fellowship is a perfect fit with Nicole's scholarly interests and career aspirations. It also reflects her determination and focus in pursuing challenging academic programs and opportunities that go beyond ordinary offerings," said Amy Gaudion, assistant dean for academic affairs at Penn State Law. Anderson also works as Professor Gaudion's research assistant.

Foreign Service dreams
Anderson’s long-term goal is to represent the U.S. internationally, a dream she has pursued for several years. As a teenager she researched Foreign Service recruitment over the Internet and learned that having both military and legal experience would make her a stronger candidate. She entered the U.S. Marine Corps as a student at California State University, Sacramento. “My parents thought it was a phase since seventh grade. I don’t think they realized I was serious until I left for my first phase of Officer Candidate School,” she said.

As a college student, she built her international expertise by traveling to Argentina. In addition to learning Spanish, she studied the dichotomy between Argentines in and out of slums and society’s stigmatization of slum dwellers and presented her research at the California State University's Honors Consortium. She earned a degree in government with an emphasis in international relations. She also found time to serve as a student leader: Anderson was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as the Student Trustee for the California State University Board of Trustees.

About the Boren Award
David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program, a federal project designed to build a broader pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. This year, 625 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship, and 117 were awarded. In exchange for the fellowship, Boren recipients are expected to serve in the federal government for at least one year.

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Last Updated September 18, 2012