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Central Washington University

CWU Honors Student Receives $20,000 Boren Scholarship to Study in Russia

Central Washington University junior Sheena Wildes was awarded a $20,000 Boren Scholarship to study the Russian language in St. Petersburg, Russia.  She is a double major in Russian and history and is a student in the Douglas Honors College. 

The Boren Scholarship (in combination with a $3,000 History Department scholarship, a $1,000 Alumni scholarship and a $5,000 Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship) will allow her to live and study abroad in St. Petersburg for the next academic year.

"I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to go to Russia. I've been wanting to go for years, and I can barely believe I'll be lucky enough to spend an entire academic year in there," said Wildes. "My goals are to increase my Russian language fluency, gain a better understanding of Russian culture, make friends, and prepare for my graduate school and career plans. I also hope to see the Mariinsky Ballet perform!"

At Central, Wildes co-founded the campus Russian club during the 2009-2010 academic year, helped draft the club constitution, and was the first president. The club is still very active on campus and participates in events such as World Language Day. Wildes worked for two years as the resident assistant for the Douglas Honors Living Learning Community and is currently working as the community programmer for the Education Living Learning Community. She has also worked with the Wellness Center to present programs about healthy relationships.

Wildes' undergraduate research focuses on comparing cultural representations of motherhood in Eastern and Western European folklore. This has required her to become familiar with the intersecting fields of language, literature, folklore studies, and history, under the mentorship of Central professors Dinara Georgeoliani, world language; and Roxanne Easley, history. After returning from Russia, Wildes plans to go to graduate school to further study Russian language and women’s issues, and afterwards she hopes to work for the US State Department in a field related to international women’s concerns.

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to undergraduate students in the United States to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to United States interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. The program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

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