Baylor Senior Earns National Security Education Scholarship

June 13, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University senior Ben Hazelwood of Denver has been named a recipient of a National Security Education Program Scholarship, a study-abroad experience that provides American undergraduates with the resources to acquire skills and experience in areas of the world critical to the future national security.

A University Scholar in the honors program with concentrations in economics, Chinese/Asian studies and Spanish, Hazelwood will spend the 2001-2002 academic year studying the Mandarin language and Chinese culture and economics at Tsinghua University, the premier university in Beijing, China. Baylor also participates in student and faculty exchange programs with Tsinghua.

NSEP Scholarships are awarded by the federal government to both undergraduates and graduate students for serious language and area studies in countries outside Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Awards may range from six weeks in the summer for freshmen and sophomores to a semester, a year or three years for upperclassmen and graduate students. Awards cover travel, living expenses and tuition costs and range from $1,500 to $25,000.

Applicants for the prestigious scholarship must show how pursuing language study and experiencing cultural immersion can help them in their professional goals, as well as help their country's interests.

"China will play an increasingly important role in the world as this century develops," Hazelwood said. "As a Christian I hope to be better able to relate to and communicate with this growing community. As a citizen of the world and as an American, I hope to bring a more informed insight into the precarious relationship between China and the United States."

When he returns from studying abroad, Hazelwood plans to apply for internships and paid positions within the U.S. government. He credits Baylor professors David Uber, Elizabeth Vardaman and Vincent Yang and Tsinghua exchange faculty Li Bijia and Shen Yunzhen for their assistance with the scholarship application process, letters of recommendation and advice on life in China and on the Tsinghua campus.

However, Hazelwood said the most important influence came from fellow student and friend Marlow Blackburn. A 2000 graduate of Baylor, Blackburn studied during his junior year in Kunming, China, on an NSEP scholarship.

"From his descriptions of living in China, and experience with the NSEP program, he gave me a solid foundation for my application and my own study abroad," Hazelwood said.

NSEP was established by the National Security Education Act of 1991, which created the National Security Education Board, the National Security Education Program and a trust fund in the United States Treasury to provide resources for scholarships, fellowships and grants. It is guided by a mission to educate U.S. citizens, understand foreign cultures, strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness and enhance international cooperation and security.

Since the first competition in 1994, approximately 1,250 students have earned NSEP scholarships to study 55 languages and cultures in more than 65 countries not commonly chosen by Americans as study abroad destinations.

More information on the NSEP can be found at www.iie.org/nsep.

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