Virginia Tech student Anusha Rizvi of Hamilton, Va., has received a prestigious national award for international study.

The National Security Education Program has awarded a Boren Scholarship worth as much as $20,000 to Rizvi, a senior political science major 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 may be underrepresented by typical study abroad programs.

Rizvi, whose parents are from Pakistan, has traveled extensively in that country, as well as in Jordan and Switzerland. She speaks Urdu fluently and has studied Arabic at Virginia Tech. She says she will use her scholarship to continue her study of the Arabic language at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan.

Rizvi, who has a minor in agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, says that her career goal is to work in business, international law, and gender equality. She noted in her application that cross-cultural communication is key to U.S. national interests in these fields, writing "Without mutual respect between countries, not much can be accomplished. … To work together, we have to take the time to understand each other.”

In a letter supporting Rizvi’s Boren application, Nadine Sinno, director of Virginia Tech’s Arabic language program and assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, described Rizvi as “a dream student” and “a hardworking, dedicated, and mature student with great ambitions.” The Boren Scholarship will help Rizvi “enhance her spoken Arabic dialect, something that is hard to achieve in an American classroom.”

In 2013, Rizvi took part in Virginia Tech’s Presidential Global Scholars program and traveled to the Center for European Studies and Architecture in Switzerland. She also participated in Virginia Tech’s Washington Semester in the nation’s capital.

Rizvi served as a member of the Student Life Council and was honored in 2013 with the Aspire! Award for Curiosity, presented by the Division of Student Affairs. She has also served as an ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Terry Papillon, director of the University Honors program, said that Rizvi "is a woman of great maturity and empathy in addition to her great intellect. She has an informal style that masks both of these things, but do not underestimate her; she is a woman of great strength.”

Boren Scholarships are awarded annually through a competitive national merit-based process. Since 1994, more than 2,800 scholarships have been given. Each Boren Scholar goes abroad to a critical country to study its language and culture. Awards are for up to one academic year. Boren Scholars demonstrate their merit for an award in part by committing to work for the U.S. government for at least one year.