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OU Student Receives Boren Award for International Study

OU Student Receives Boren Award for International Study

April 23, 2021

University of Oklahoma senior Rachel Williams has been named a recipient of the prestigious Boren Award for International Study, sponsored by the National Security Education Program. Forty-eight OU students have received the award since the program began in 1994.

Boren Awards are named for David L. Boren, OU’s 13th president, former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator, who helped establish 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 and graduate students to study abroad and develop language proficiency.

“We congratulate Rachel Williams on receiving the federally funded National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship – a well-deserved recognition that is indicative of her bright future,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “Preparing our students to become the leaders of tomorrow is our ultimate goal at OU, and we are certain that Rachel will make a positive impact on our world in the years to come.”

The Boren Award will enable Williams to study at the Arab American Language Institute in Morocco from June 2021 until May 2022, where she will be offered on-site language immersion. 

At OU, Williams is pursuing a degree in international affairs and Arabic with a minor in Spanish, and she holds a 3.98 grade-point average. Currently serving as a research associate for OU’s Cyber Governance and Policy Center, she previously served as an Arabic tutor in OU’s Arabic Flagship Program.

Williams also completed a student internship for Al-Hadaf, which provides legal assistance to Iraqi refugees and served as a consultant for The Oklahoma Group. From 2016 until 2020, she was a member of OU’s NCAA Division I rowing team.

During college, Williams has studied abroad in Jordan, Guatemala and the United Kingdom. She earned a Critical Languages Scholarship in 2020 and was named the recipient of Big 12 Conference’s Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award in 2019.  

From DeForest, Wisconsin, Williams is the daughter of Mark and Kathy Williams.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit