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Miami sophomore wins Boren Scholarship for International Study


Kayla Orta, international studies and individualized studies double major, has received a $20,000 Boren Scholarship for study in South Korea this summer and fall (photo by Scott Kissell).
Kayla Orta, international studies and individualized studies double major, has received a $20,000 Boren Scholarship for study in South Korea this summer and fall (photo by Scott Kissell).
Kayla Orta, a sophomore at Miami University, has received a 2013 National Security Education Program (NSEP) Boren Scholarship for International Study. The $20,000 scholarship will support her study in Seoul, South Korea with the CIEE Korean Studies Summer Program and at Yonsei University in Wonju, South Korea, during the fall semester with the Farmer School of Business exchange program. She will focus on the conflict between North and South Korea and on intensive Korean language study.

Orta, an international studies and individualized studies double major and German minor from Warrenton, Va., is one of 161 recipients from among 947 applicants nationwide for the Boren Scholarship. Funded by the NSEP, the scholarships provide American undergraduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to U.S. national security, in exchange for their commitment to seek work in the federal government.

Korean studies

Orta’s interest in Korean studies lies in the Korean language – “which I love,” she said – and in the political and cultural conflict between North and South Korea – an issue that she is “absolutely fascinated by.” She will focus on both during her study in South Korea.

International studies and four languages

“I was originally drawn to Korean language studies through the discovery of K-pop. … I loved it instantly,” Orta explained. “When I was applying for colleges, I specifically chose universities that offered Korean.”

“Once at Miami, I decided to major in both international studies and foreign languages. But because Miami doesn’t offer a major for more than two languages, I’ve been working through the individualized studies program to create my own major.”

That major is “Languaculturalism: Relations in Communication.” It focuses on the importance of learning culture at the same time as learning a language, said Orta, and includes studying four languages: German, Korean, Chinese and Ancient Greek.

NSEP Service Requirement for Boren Scholars

The NSEP Service Requirement stipulates that an award recipient work for a year in the federal government in a position with national security responsibilities.

“Because of its importance, I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I really want …to find a position that not only satisfies the requirement but also fulfills my interests and aspirations,” Orta said.

“My dream job is to work with people from another country in their own language, simultaneously working to understand their culture and be in a position to communicate their opinions or needs back to the U.S. My study abroad programs, which focus on Korean language and North-South Korean conflict studies, will definitely prepare me for this.”

She would eventually like to apply for a job or an internship with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Orta's Miami experience

Orta is a member of Miami’s Korean American Student Association (KASA), serving as webmaster; next spring she will be co-president of the organization. She is an active member of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), which next year will join with KASA to form a combined club.

This past summer she studied abroad in Germany through Miami’s Intensive German Summer Program.

This year she was the Thompson Hall /Clawson Hall senator representative for Associated Student Government (ASG); was Thompson Hall Community Council president; and has been nominated for the College of Arts and Science Ambassador Program.


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