3 UA Students Earn Boren Scholarships for Foreign Study

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Three University of Alabama students have received Boren Scholarships for the study of languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad.

Aparna Bhooshanan, of Madison; Hari Gunda, of Montgomery; and Madeleine Luther, of Cincinnati will be part of a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal security arena.

A headshot of Aparna Bhooshanan

Aparna Bhooshanan is a computer science major who will spend the next academic year studying Mandarin in Taipei, Taiwan. The Honors College student recently received a Critical Language Scholarship as well as the UA Outstanding Sophomore Award. She is president of UA’s chapter of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers.

Bhooshanan plans to pursue research in natural language processing, a field that unites linguistics with machine learning. She plans to use her knowledge of Mandarin to contribute to the machine translation field and develop methods to combat digital misinformation in different countries.

Hari Gunda is an Honors College student with a dual major in computer science and math and additional majors in foreign languages and literature with a concentration in German. Gunda will be part of the Boren Southeast Asian Flagship Initiative. He will participate in a domestic Indonesian program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this summer, and then continue his studies at the State University of Malang in Indonesia during the fall semester. Gunda recently received a Critical Language Scholarship and received the German 2nd Year Excellence Award in 2023.

A headshot of Hari Gunda

Gunda plans to pursue graduate study to research computational linguistics and multilingual natural language processing.

A headshot of Madeleine Luther

Madeleine Luther majors in international studies and French. Luther will be part of the Boren African Flagship Language Initiative. The Honors College student will participate in a domestic French and basic Wolof program at the University of Florida this summer, and then continue her studies at the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal during the fall semester. Luther is part of the Dr. Robert E. Witt University Fellows Program and member of The Elliott Society.

Luther plans to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in foreign service and hopes to work in the U.S. State Department as a foreign service officer.

Boren Scholarships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in such regions as Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

The UA Office of External Scholarships and Fellowships assists students in the pursuit of national and international awards including the Mitchell, Hollings, Goldwater, Rhodes and Boren, among others. Students interested in applying for awards that require an institutional endorsement can learn more on the External Scholarships and Fellowships website.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, bryant.welbourne@ua.edu, 205-348-8325