Virginia Tech student Rose Filippell of Ellicott City, Md., has been selected to receive one of the most prestigious awards granted in the United States for international study.

The National Security Education Program (NSEP) has awarded a Boren Scholarship worth as much as $20,000 to Filippell, who is a senior majoring in international studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Boren scholarships support undergraduate study in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests but are often underrepresented by typical study abroad programs. Filippell will use her scholarship for fall semester studies at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. “While in Egypt, I hope to increase my proficiency in Arabic, as well as take classes in Middle Eastern history, politics, and society,” she said.

Filippell, who majored in finance in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech before enrolling in international studies, also recently received a U.S. Department of State Critical Languages Scholarship, which she will use for a two-month study of Arabic in Tunisia this summer. Her other honors include the Pamplin College of Business Freshman Merit Scholarship; the Thompson Academic Achievement Scholarship; and the $10,000 Virginia Tech Class of 1954 Honors Scholarship, which is awarded to only one second-year honors student annually.

This summer, in addition to her trip to Tunisia, Filippell will spend time in El Porvenir, Honduras, helping to implement service projects as part of a partnership between the residents of El Porvenir and Virginia Tech’s University Honors Program and Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships. While an undergraduate at the university, she has traveled through Central America, interviewing directors of nonprofit organizations in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala.

A dean’s list student each of her semesters at Virginia Tech, Filippell has served in the university’s Center for Academic Enrichment as a tutor for other undergraduates in subjects as varied as Spanish, economics, and calculus. She also has worked as a staff writer for the Collegiate Times, the independent, student-run newspaper that serves the Virginia Tech community.

“Her comfort with international travel, continued study of Arabic and interest in immersing herself in the culture in which she will study . . . suggest a young woman with a clear vision, purpose, and direction,” wrote Max Stephenson, director of the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance, in nominating Filippell for the Boren Scholarship. “Rose is a gifted young woman whose work to date manifests not only talent, but also energy and imagination. I am confident she will do extremely well in confronting the culturally complex mosaic that so intrigues her.”

In the future, Filippell plans to pursue a career in international development or in the United States Foreign Service. “I have grown up traveling and living abroad and have developed a passion for experiencing other cultures and learning languages,” she said. “A career in international service would allow me to live out these passions while simultaneously serving my country.”


Share this story