NORMAN – University of Oklahoma senior James Ratcliff and OU junior Libby Trowbridge recently were selected as recipients of the prestigious Boren Award for International Study, sponsored by the National Security Education Program. Thirty-four OU students have received the award since the program began in 1994.
Boren Scholarships are named for David L. Boren, OU’s 13th President and former Oklahoma Governor and U.S. Senator, who helped establish in the U.S. Senate the National Security Education Program. The program focuses on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. The awards provide up to $20,000 in funding to undergraduate students to study abroad.
“It is a special joy to see two more OU students earn the award I established as a U.S. Senator,” said OU President David L. Boren. “James and Libby are exceptional students who have made the university proud.”
Ratcliff is a senior pursuing degrees in international security studies and Arabic and holds a 3.95 grade point average. With studies currently focused on issues of North African security, he was awarded the Association of Former Intelligence Officers scholarship and the National Military Intelligence Foundation scholarship. He also is a student ambassador for the Social Enterprise NaTakallam, which helps Syrian refugees find employment. His career goal is to work in the U.S. government in the field of Foreign Affairs after studying at the Arab American Language Institute in Morocco.
Most recently awarded the Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr. Outstanding International and Area Studies Student Award as well as the Thomas W. Adams Best Paper Award for his work, Ratcliff has had his work published in the College of International Studies’ publications “Journal of Global Affairs” and “Virtues.” He also is a member of the OU Arabic Flagship program.
Ratcliff holds leadership positions in numerous groups, including serving as Program Advisor for Arabic Flagship; as founding member of the OU Model Arab League team; and as vice-chair of OU’s Informed Citizens Discussions Groups.
His public service activities have included helping set up lectures with International and Area Studies professors, serving as an Arabic language tutor, and organizing outreach activities with the Iranian Studies program. He also is a current intern with the U.S. State Department, researching Libyan blog activity.
Trowbridge is a junior pursuing degrees in Arabic and international security studies. She holds a 4.0 grade point average. Currently working within OU’s Arabic Flagship Program, she has been a participant in the Arabic Film Club and “Darija,” the Morrocan Dialect Club. Her career goal, after completing her coursework at OU, is to serve as an intelligence specialist in the U.S. Air Force after also studying at the Qasid Institute for Classical and Modern Standard Arabic in Amman, Jordan.
In addition to maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA, Trowbridge has earned a Certificate in Intelligence Studies and has been named to OU’s President’s Honors Roll each semester. She also participated in the intensive University of Texas’ Arabic Summer Institute program in 2017 to achieve fluency in Arabic as well as an understanding of Arabic culture.
Trowbridge holds leadership positions in several groups, including leading discussions of current political affairs as a moderator for OU’s Informed Citizens Discussions Groups as well as being an Honors College Reading Group moderator. Additionally, she participates in the OU Cousins program, helping international students adapt to the U.S. culture and works as an adviser with the New International Student Orientation Experience.
Her public service activities have included serving as the Halaal Chef for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Foods in OU’s Housing and Food Services, where she utilizes her Arabic language and cultural skills to communicate with customers.