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Jack Schwartz, a second-year political science PhD candidate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, from Lambertville, Michigan, will pursue Arabic in Amman, Jordan, with support from a Boren Fellowship.


Researching conflict in the Middle East, Schwartz began encountering Arabic in his readings. “In my undergrad, I took four years of Russian and I always enjoyed learning languages as a side hobby, so I started dabbling in Arabic,” he said. His interest in the language took him overseas to Lebanon for a few weeks, where he fell in love with the region’s culture. After a second trip to the Middle East, this time to Egypt, Schwartz decided to make Arabic language and culture a part of his studies.

Schwartz selected Jordan for his Boren Fellowship studies because its dialect of Arabic is similar to those in Syria and the Palestinian territories. He plans to become a foreign service officer for the State Department.

“UT’s vision is to serve the world through enriched ideas and action. Boren Scholarships are an opportunity to cultivate this vision through global educational experiences,” said Amber Williams, vice provost for student success. “These opportunities will help our students expand their perspectives and talents and prepare them for an ever-changing world. It’s an honor for our scholars to be recognized and engage in such a meaningful experience.”

Boren Scholarships (for undergraduate students) and Boren Fellowships (for graduate students) provide recipients with up to $25,000 for language and cultural study in countries critical to the security and stability of the US. Recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least a year after graduation. Nationwide 458 Boren Awards will be made to undergraduate and graduate students.

“To be named a Boren Fellow is truly a testament to his hard work and commitment to public service,” said Laura De Furio, acting director of UT’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. “Jack navigated a competitive application process that included composing a policy brief that captured the centrality of the Arabic language and the country of Jordan to US interests. This achievement is a great credit to Jack, the faculty in the political science department, and UT.”

UT students interested in the Boren or other national scholarships and fellowships can visit the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships website and meet with staff to learn more about the application process.


Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,