Record Number of Baylor Students Awarded Boren Scholarship

May 20, 2021
Boren Scholarship 2021

Anne Walker, economics and international studies major; Amanda Sutton, University Scholar and Russian major; and Maria Torres, B.A. '20, have accepted David L. Boren Awards.

Three students and an alumnus named winners of prestigious Boren Award focused on public service

Media Contact: Kaitlyn Rieper, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-405-9110
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WACO, Texas (May 20, 2021) – Three Baylor University seniors — Amanda Sutton, University Scholar and Russian major; Anne Walker, economics and international studies major; and Daniel Burch, political science major — have been awarded the prestigious David L. Boren Scholarship. Additionally, Maria Torres, B.A. '20, master's student at the George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs, has been awarded the Boren Fellowship.

Boren Awards, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Awards alumni commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

Sutton, Walker and Torres will be studying in Ukraine, Indonesia and Czech Republic, respectively, for the 2021-2022 academic year. The program allows for immersive learning in which participants develop a deep understanding of culture, language and public service related to their area of study.

"With the Boren Scholarship, I will be studying in Kyiv, Ukraine, for the fall 2021 semester. While there, I will be participating in an intensive Russian language program and volunteering at the National Military Clinical Hospital," Sutton said. "Both of these pursuits are of interest to me because it is my dream to become a physician for the U.S. military and work in Eastern Europe."

The Boren Award will give Walker the chance to spend a year living and studying in Indonesia. More Americans should develop a deep understanding of the language and culture of Indonesia, she said.

"Indonesia is the world's third largest democracy and an important geopolitical partner for the United States," Walker said. "The Boren Award will give me the opportunity to reach across cultural barriers and engage with people from a diverse array of cultures."

Torres will be studying Czech at The Charles University in Prague and interning at a think tank that focuses on Eastern European Politics.

"This area is of great interest to me because I firmly believe that the United States should increase diplomatic efforts in the region to prevent further democratic backsliding and ensure greater security in the region. This is particularly true of the Czech Republic, which is one of our greatest allies in the region," Torres said.

Burch, also a winner of the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship, applied to study at the African Foreign Language Institute in Senegal. Though honored with the Boren, he has elected to pursue his additional scholarship opportunities.

Andrew Hogue, Ph.D., associate dean for engaged learning, assists students in their application process for major awards like Boren. The Boren Award is well-suited for Baylor students for the focus on service and time spent abroad, Hogue said.

"A Boren award presents an unparalleled opportunity for our students. Winners of the Boren not only have the chance to spend significant time learning abroad, they also find themselves on the fast track to a career in public service," Hogue said. "In many respects, it is difficult to conceive of an award more aligned with Baylor's mission to prepare our students for worldwide leadership and service. We are thrilled to have a record number of winners this year — a sign, no doubt, of Boren evaluators' recognition that Baylor is serious about equipping students to become global difference-makers."

Academically prepared

Sutton became interested in Baylor after learning of the University Scholar and pre-med programs. The opportunities each program provided were impressive and applicable to Sutton's goals for the future, she said.

"During my time at Baylor, I have focused primarily on the sciences and languages. I chose these two areas of study because my goal is to become a medical doctor who has the ability to effectively help people beyond my own language and culture," Sutton said.

Baylor international studies, a major of both Walker and Torres, is an interdisciplinary program through the department of political science. Students learn about regions of the world, as well as social, political and economic issues confronting actors in the international environment.

"I chose Baylor because of the University's diverse array of academic opportunities, faith-based traditions and strong sense of community," Walker said. "International studies appealed to me as a major because the core classes provide a fascinating blend of history, political science, U.S. foreign policy and economics."

Additionally, Baylor in Washington, a program Torres participated in, prepares students for public service and leadership while maintaining a focus on Christian commitments. Baylor students are able to participate in coursework, internships and research in the nation's capital.

"My experiences with the Baylor in Washington program helped me prepare for this experience. During my semester in Washington D.C., I was able to tour different government agencies and better understand what working for the federal government entailed. It helped me discern whether or not this would be my future career path, and I am thankful for the guidance the program provided for me," Torres said.

Career focused

Boren works with recipients to place them in government jobs that fit their strengths and unique experiences. After graduation, Sutton, Walker and Torres will receive help in finding a position that fulfills their commitment to working a year in the federal government. The experiences provided through Boren Awards help winners to narrow their career focus and gain skills that will serve them well in future employment opportunities.

"The linguistic and cultural knowledge I develop during my Boren studies will serve me well as I pursue a graduate degree and career opportunities," Walker said.

"With my plans to become a U.S. military doctor, the Boren Award will be a tremendous help by providing the cultural knowledge and language skills necessary to work abroad one day," Sutton said.

Baylor students who seek a rich undergraduate education are supported by Baylor's Office of Engaged Learning, which partners with students, in collaboration with faculty and staff throughout the University, to help them maximize their scholarship beyond the classroom.

"The Office of Engaged Learning was instrumental in preparing me for this opportunity. Dr. Daniel Benyousky, director of major fellowships and awards, and Dr. Andy Hogue worked with me for months to ensure that I was putting forth my most competitive application. They provided many words of encouragement and offered personalized assistance throughout the entirety of the application process," Torres said.

Students are supported as they apply and compete for prestigious scholarships, fellowships, internships and research experiences at the national and international level, including the Fulbright, Truman, Gates Cambridge, Boren and Rhodes, and for other notable awards, such as the Goldwater, Pickering, Critical Language Scholarship and National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.