Kasten wins year-long Boren Award to study abroad

Carl_kasten2Carl Kasten, a sophomore majoring in International Studies, has received a prestigious Boren Scholarship, which will fund his junior year at The London School in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

David L. Boren Scholarships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program, a federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. Kasten will study the Russian and Kyrgyz languages and serve an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek.

“I’m honored to be selected for this scholarship,” said Kasten, who graduated from Legend High School in Parker. “After I spend next year abroad, I’ll finish my degree in International Studies with a minor in Russian language and literature in Fort Collins. Then I plan to go to grad school, but my end goal is to become a Foreign Service officer and do diplomatic work.”

The Boren experience should accelerate his progress toward that goal. In exchange for funding, Boren Award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year within five years of returning, either in the U.S. or abroad.

Third CSU recipient

Kasten is only the third CSU student and youngest undergraduate to be awarded a Boren since 2001. Douglas Winter from the College of Agricultural Sciences spent his senior year at The London School in 2012-13. All three CSU Boren recipients have studied with Ludmila Pokatilova, professor of Russian in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, who encouraged Kasten to apply.

“Carl had always been fascinated by the Russian language and culture, which is why he is the top student in our Russian program,” she said. “He participates actively in all the activities of the CSU Russian club. Carl is also a great person and a wonderful friend and respected by all who know him.”

Kasten said he chose to study Russian as soon as he came to CSU in 2013 because he wanted to learn something that hadn’t been offered in his high school, where he studied Spanish. So far he has taken courses in Russian language, literature, and culture in translation, and Russian culture and film, and the Outstanding Russians seminar.

Extremely competitive

The awards, which can provide up to $20,000 per year to cover travel and all education expenses, depending on the country where the recipient studies, are extremely competitive.

“It was a grueling process to apply,” Kasten said. “I had to write two papers of 1,000 words each, supply two letters of recommendation and my transcripts and other documents. I sent everything in by November, and then had to wait until February to hear if I made the first cut, then late April to hear that I’d received the award.”

Boren Awards provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the United States.

“The National Security Education Program is helping change the way Americans approach the study of foreign languages and cultures,” according to NSEP Director Michael A. Nugent.

Kasten will attend the Boren Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., in June, then head overseas in September. His second semester will be the embassy internship.