A&S Alumna Awarded Boren Fellowship to Study Language in Myanmar

By Emily Sallee

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 20, 2020) — Brittney Woodrum, a 2015 arts administration and College of Arts & Sciences Hispanic Studies graduate, has received a 2020 Boren Fellowship to travel to Yangon, Myanmar for a year of intensive language study. The Boren Fellowship funds research and language study proposals by U.S. graduate students in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Woodrum is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international security/humanitarian aid at the University of Denver.

During her time abroad, she will also intern at Yangon Bakehouse, a local initiative geared at providing professional opportunities for women across the nation.

Woodrum has previously spent time in Myanmar, as she received a fellowship from the Princeton in Asia program in 2016 to travel to Yangon to teach English and basic computer skills to the Buddhist nuns at the Dhamma Moli International Buddhist Education Center. In 2015, she also received an English Teaching Assistantship Grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to teach English in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The daughter of Jim and Sherry Woodrum of Winchester, Kentucky, Woodrum worked with nongovernmental organizations for three years after graduating from UK and saw the need for more professionals in the field of humanitarian assistance. She hopes to continue that work upon completing her master’s degree next year. 

“Today the need is greater than ever, and fortunately there are many hands willing to help out,” she said. “Historically, however, this has often caused more harm than good. By pursuing a higher degree focused specifically on international security and humanitarian aid, I hope that I can one day help to intentionally alleviate some of that need.”

The Boren Awards fund up to $20,000 for undergraduates and $24,000 for graduate students to support language study, research, and study abroad.

UK students may apply for the Boren Awards through the university’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. Part of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Student and Academic Life, the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office well in advance of the scholarship deadline. Staff is available for virtual appointments to discuss opportunities for the 2020-2021 academic year and beyond.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.