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Seniors Lucille Greer and Philip Baites have received prestigious Boren Scholarships that will allow them to spend the next year studying abroad. Greer will travel to Jordan to study Arabic and international politics; Baites will travel to Morocco to study Arabic and various French courses.

David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program, a federal initiative designed to build a pool of US citizens with foreign language and international skills. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least a year.

“I am so excited for Lucy and Philip to be named Boren Scholars–these are extraordinary opportunities they have before them,” said Andrew Seidler, director of UT’s Office of National Scholarship and Fellowships.

Greer, of Knoxville, is majoring in political science with a concentration in international affairs and Middle Eastern studies. She aspires to a career in diplomacy with a focus on the Arab world.

She will spend the fall studying Arabic at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan; in the spring, she hopes to study Arabic, political science, and regional studies with the School for International Training in Jordan.

“I chose Jordan because it is part of a region of the Middle East called the Levant, which also includes Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine,” she said. “Some of the most compelling things in the Middle East are happening in the Levant right now, and I want the kind of understanding of that region that comes from an extended stay.”

While her post-Boren federal government work hasn’t been decided yet, Greer hopes to work for the US Department of State. She interned with them in the United States last fall and is interning with them again this summer.

Baites, of Hendersonville, attended Middle Tennessee State University before transferring to UT as a sophomore. He is majoring in French and world business with a minor in Arab studies.

Over the next academic year, Baites will be in Rabat, Morocco, living with a host family; he will be studying Arabic, in addition to taking advanced French courses related to Morocco, the Maghreb region, and the Middle East.

“Morocco is a unique country with a blend of European, Arab, and Berber influences,” he said. “The opportunity to be immersed in both the French and Arabic languages attracted me greatly to the country.”

Baites said he aspires to a career, perhaps in the US Foreign Service or another branch of the federal government, that will let him use and improve his foreign language skills while working to make a difference in the lives of those around him.

Greer and Baites are among 791 US undergraduates who applied for the Boren Scholarship and two of the 194 who received awards. This year’s scholars and fellows will live in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. They will study 36 different languages, with the most popular being Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Swahili, and Korean.

For more information on Boren Scholarships and Fellowships and other opportunities, visit the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships website or contact Seidler at


Andrew Seidler, UT Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (865-974-3518,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,