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Africana studies student awarded Boren Scholarship

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alecia Belnavis, a senior majoring in Africana Studies at the University of South Florida, has been awarded a Boren Scholarship for summer and fall semesters. She will be studying Swahili at the University of Florida this summer and at the State University of Zanzibar in Tanzania in the fall.

The Boren Scholarship program promotes long-term linguistic and cultural immersion for students and is funded by the National Security Education Program. Belnavis explained in her application the connection between unstable government and health crises in East African countries and how these conditions foster situations for terrorist organizations to arise. The program has a one-year requirement that she will work in a government office for national security.

Belnavis’ award is for $16,000 and will cover the costs of the program and travel. She leaves for Tanzania Aug. 31 and returns Dec. 1. Belnavis will live with a host family in Zanzibar, and at the end of the program she will have 22 language credits in Swahili and six credits in history. Belnavis said she is looking forward to the language immersion to learn how to speak Swahili and to gain a deeper knowledge of East African culture.

Belnavis has been passionate about African history since high school, when she noticed its absence in her world history classes. Born in Jamaica, Belnavis moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. when she was 8, and received an associate degree from Broward College before transferring to USF. At Broward College she was president of the African Student Union and a peer academic adviser in the Social Sciences Department.

Belnavis will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Africana studies and a minor in sociology in the spring, and plans to join the Peace Corps and travel back to Africa to help with health care and education.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Africana Studies Student Success   
Author: Jordan Smith