Congratulations to University of Oklahoma honors student Ursula “Ula” Wildfield, the university’s newest NSEP-Boren Scholarship recipient. The NSEP-Boren Scholarship provides for undergraduates to study abroad in parts of the world that are deemed critical to U.S. interests. It is part of the National Security Education Program, established in 1991, which sends students to study abroad in countries that are both underrepresented in other study abroad programs and are of critical interest to the United States. The Boren Scholarship awards $20,000 to students for the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board in a year-long program.
From Oak Park, Illinois, Wildfield is a dual degree student majoring in international studies and Arabic with a minor in intelligence and national security and holds a 3.81 grade-point average. This fall, she will enroll at Moulay Ismail University as part of the Arabic Flagship Capstone Year. Wildfield has served as a teaching assistant for beginner’s Arabic courses while at OU and describes herself as a grammar nerd. Her interest in Arabic stems partly from her early education, when she was enrolled in a predominately Muslim elementary school in Illinois.
A National Merit Scholar, Wildfield has earned a certificate in intelligence studies while pursuing her minor and has been named to President’s honor roll or the Dean’s honor roll every semester during her undergraduate years. In 2018 she was invited to present research at the National Security and Intelligence Symposium, where she delivered a briefing titled Transnational Organized Crime in Latin American: Illegal Drug Proliferation and US Intelligence Challenges.
Wildfield has held several leadership positions during her time at OU, including serving as the assistant program coordinator for the Arabic Flagship Program. In 2018 she co-taught a course focused on the history of U.S. Intelligence work for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She also is the president of OU’s Egyptian Club and led a reading group over Jeffrey Eugenides’ 2002 novel Middlesex. Her public service activities include serving as a tutor with Paper Airplanes, wherein she taught English to Syrian refugees, and providing childcare at West Wind Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Norman.
The national scholarship competition is conducted by the Boren Awards, and is named after former OU President David L. Boren. Last year, James Ratcliff was awarded an NSEP-Boren Scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco.