The Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship Fund is now in its twenty-second year and with the addition of the current four recipients, 69 UC San Diego students have benefited from your generous contributions. They have pursued international study at universities in Austria, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Scotland, Senegal, Spain, and South Korea. For up to date details see the Fund website at http://www.starreveld.com/CBB.
The Institute for International Education of Students (IES) conducted a survey to explore the impact of study abroad programs on the personal, professional and academic lives of students. Of the students surveyed 97% agreed that studying abroad served as a catalyst for increased maturity, 96% reported increased self-confidence, and 95% said it had a lasting impact on their worldview. Studying abroad influenced subsequent educational experiences according to 87% of survey respondents, and 52% attained graduate degrees. The experience continues to influence their interactions with people from different cultures according to 94% of responders, and 76% reported that they acquired skill sets while studying abroad that influenced their career paths. Yet, according to NAFSA, only 1.6% of all U.S. students enrolled at institutions of higher education studied abroad during the 2016-17 academic year. With overwhelmingly positive benefits but low participation, it is increasingly important that The Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship Fund, and other programs like it, help achieve the goal of greater access to education abroad.
Current Scholarship Recipients
Megumi Kawamura, an International Business major, is studying at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. A native of Northern California, she has been active in the UCSD community, serving on the executive board of the Student Organized Voter Access Committee. Megumi grew up playing competitive tennis, golf, and basketball, and most recently competed in a 100-mile bike race. She wrote before leaving for Japan that she “hopes to become more aligned with her heritage, become fluent in Japanese, and explore Japan and its beautiful culture.” Megumi was nervous but found that her fears and worries were quickly put to rest when she moved into the Hoshien international student dormitories during her first week. Since arriving, she has taken a trip to Kyoto, and visited her grandparents who live about an hour outside of Tokyo. She writes that she has “met some incredible people from all around the world, had so many great experiences, and have learned so many things about myself and my outlook on life that I would have never learned without this experience.” During the rest of her time abroad Megumi hopes to go to Mt. Fuji during the winter and visit Thailand, Singapore, Bali, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan during the spring break.
Yulin Ma is a Human Development major studying at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. At UCSD, Yulin was part of the Asian and Pacific-Islander Student Alliance (APSA), helping them with their annual high school conference, an event which aimed to give high school students from underserved communities in San Diego a chance to experience college. Because she is a first-generation student herself, Yulin is passionate about working with youths who are unfamiliar with the process of navigating higher education. In the future, she would like to become a school psychologist in inner city schools. She is excited to be spending a year abroad and experiencing a new culture. She writes, “In my major, human development, there is a heavy emphasis on the compromise between nature and nurture in the influence of development; our genetic disposition controls only so much of our life’s trajectory, and experience can heavily shape who we become. Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine because what I had always valued the most in life was experiencing all that I can.”
Isabella Silva, a Japanese Studies major, is studying at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. She has a love of languages and has studied Spanish and ASL in addition to Japanese. This passion extends to her career goal: after graduating she plans to move to Japan and South Korea to become an English teacher, “striving not only to instruct my students on the topic of the class, but additionally to be a role model and cultural ambassador.” At UCSD, she was an English in Action (EIA) tutor to a student from Turkey and a student from Taiwan. During weekly meetings she answered specific grammar questions, explained cultural norms and conducted conversations to help them improve their English. Since arriving in Tokyo, Isabella has been “impressed with how much I know, yet at the same time there are many moments that are lost in translation.” She writes that she appreciates these conversations because they “challenge me and help me grow.” In addition to her course load, Isabella has applied to intern at an elementary school.
Alex Slone is a Sociology major studying at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He grew up in Northern California and has adopted the entrepreneurial mindset that region is known for. He has held internships with a health food startup and another startup focused on artificial intelligence and 3D sensors. Alex hopes to one day start a company and sees discovering different perspectives as a key challenge to do so. Since arriving in Prague, he has settled into his classwork and found time to travel to Barcelona, Krakow and Berlin. He writes, “I’ve come to realize that people are really not that different around the world. We all face the same problems and experience sadness and happiness. Really what is different is environment and culture.” Over winter break, Alex will be staying with a family in a small town in Italy, working on a farm. The family is a Worldpacker host, a program that provides food and accommodation in exchange for doing work.
Updates on recently returned Borton Scholars
Thomas Bayne (Netherlands, 2017-18) has graduated and is currently working on applications for an MFA in Creative Writing. He is moving to Brooklyn in February to pursue writing opportunities. Although he did not achieve fluency in any one language during his year abroad, he managed to pick up a lot of words and phrases in French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and German, leading to “quite a few funny moments in train stations switching between five languages.” He was able to fit nearly three full months of travel into his year abroad and highlighted the incredible hikes and stunning vistas of Transylvania and mix of architectural styles from the past 400 years in Prague as favorites. He writes that he “had to learn to be more extroverted than I was used to, and made extra effort to meet new people and attend events solo. Both of these skills will be extremely useful upon my return, especially considering I’ll soon be moving to a new city and living on my own.” Thomas sees the value of the study abroad experience as the value of distance: “one’s perspective can widen and develop with the benefit of space and a critical view… The style of life in The Netherlands and Europe in general places less of a focus on the amount of money made and material possessions accumulated and instead on the ways you spend your time. There is much more focus on time spent with family and friends and the act of giving without the expectation of receiving anything in return.”
Gio Castillo (Spain, 2017-18) has graduated and, in the near term, he is working towards returning to his research lab at UCSD, while over the longer term he hopes to pursue graduate work/career overseas. During his time abroad, he traveled to 8 different countries and met people from around the world. He celebrated a football championship in the streets of Barcelona and observed first hand political demonstrations throughout the city. While he didn’t feel it was his place as a study abroad student to take a stand on an issue as divisive as Catalonia independence, he felt it was his responsibility to keep up with the happenings and try his best to understand both sides of the issue. He describes listening to “a deafening caceroladaprotest in which hundreds of people throughout the entire city would step onto their balconies and bang pots together to signal their displeasure.” Gio shared a compilation video of his time abroad that can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS3fUMS7ftM&t=28s. He writes that “the process of throwing yourself into a new country, with new people and new customs, and proceeding to figure it all outis one of the most valuable and enjoyable things I’ve learned,” and goes on to say that “the resourcefulness, adaptability and independence I developed allowed me to take full advantage of my year abroad.”
Emily Yeh (Japan, 2017-18) recently graduated cum laude from UCSD. She is currently continuing her Japanese language studies at Keio University in Tokyo and exploring job opportunities in Japan. Emily writes that “Tokyo is starting to feel like home.” In late November/early December she attended the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Youth Summit in Tokyo. The experience of living in Japan and learning the Japanese language has left Emily more determined to pursue a career in sustainable development and environmental policy. The year-long program allowed her to achieve a level of integration beyond what she had experienced in previous semester-long programs. Her international background has exposed her to different cultures and she has “come to notice that experiences like this require years of cultivation.” She writes of her belief that “people with an international background who are multilingual will be the key to solving many global issues in the years to come.”
Hearts and Scholars Dinner and Friends of the International Center Awards Ceremony
Ray and Verena made a quick trip to San Diego to attend the annual UCSD Hearts & Scholars Dinner for undergraduate scholarship recipients on February 15. They enjoyed the festivities in the company of 2016-17 Borton Scholars Sophie Osborn, Dominique Winfield, Justin Lim, Mikayla Webster and Jennifer Rivas, as well as Kim Burton from the Education Abroad Center. Conversation ranged widely but centered on language experiences, food, cultural differences, travel and the fact that they all had befriended numerous international students.
The Friends of the International Center at UCSD invited the newly selected 2018-19 Borton Scholars to their annual Membership Dinner and Award Ceremony on May 22. Alex Stone, Yulin Ma, Isabella Silva and Megumi Kawamura had a chance to be recognized as Borton Scholars and to socialize with a large group of students who similarly were awarded scholarships for study abroad. It is gracious of Ruth and Katya Newmark of the Friends of the International Center (who knew Chris at UCSD) to extend the invitation to our students.
Updates on past Borton Scholars
Sophie Osborn (Japan, 2016-17) did a summer internship with the State Department’s Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she got to “broaden her understanding of Southeast Asia and meet a lot of young people who are going to be the future leaders of the region.” She is currently doing another internship in Washington, DC with a foreign policy think tank called the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She is working in the Japan program and writes, “I’m sure that my year abroad in Tokyo was a major reason why I was selected for this competitive internship. At the office I get to help out some of the Japanese visiting fellows and my language skills come in quite handy since the fellows are not that comfortable with English.” Sophie is currently applying for jobs on the Hill.
Megan Bright (Germany, 2015-16) is currently working as a legal receptionist for Withers Bergman. Last summer she worked for a nonprofit in Washington, DC called the Women’s Foreign Policy Group. Megan has recently finished applying to law school and already has four admission offers. She writes, “I am so excited to begin the next step in my new journey to becoming an immigration lawyer. I know I would not have had so many of the opportunities in my life if it wasn’t for the support of the Borton Scholarship.”
Austin Pukasamsombut (Japan, 2014-15) has been working as a graphics programmer for a middleware company in the video game industry. He has been able to do a lot of work with virtual reality systems and was part of a team porting the popular Indie game Transistor to the Nintendo Switch. He credits his time abroad with allowing him to shift his career focus from robotics to video games. He writes, “Although trying something new and unstable may be difficult, I believe we have to take the initiative to try things out to really be able to experience the things we never thought possible. Studying abroad opened my mind and helped me realize that there is a world of possibilities for my future.”
Shelby Newallis (Italy, 2014-15) worked as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles until October, when she moved to Italy to pursue a Masters program in Gastronomy, studying Food Systems, Sustainability and Education at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo. She is enjoying living in Italy, traveling, and learning more about the different cultures around her. She writes, “I still owe my initial abroad experience to the lovely generosity of the Borton Scholarship which has helped me get to where I am now.”
Debbie Leung (Denmark, 2011-2012) continues to work as a transportation systems planner for IBI Group San Diego focusing on smart cities and mobility projects. She feels lucky to be able to continue expanding her horizons and visited Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong this year. In her spare time, you can find her teaching or taking a yoga class, struggling to keep up her waning Danish skills on Duolingo, or planning her next adventure.
Tamar Freeland (Spain, 2010-11) is living in Sacramento and working as a Spanish teacher in the Elk Grove school district, where she aims to integrate culture, history, and current events from across the Spanish-speaking world into her lessons on a daily basis. In her free time, she continues to travel as much as possible and has been working hard to improve her Brazilian Portuguese. She writes, “Ever since the year I studied in Barcelona as a Borton Scholar, I have been eager to continue my education abroad, and next year I hope to complete an MA in Spanish through the Middlebury Language Schools, which would involve nine months of study in Madrid and a summer in Buenos Aires.”
Hanna Rahimi (France, 2009-10) is teaching Spanish to grades 9-12 at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley and received tenure at the end of last year. She also completed an MS in Education at Dominican University of California. Her thesis focused on exploring student voice in a secondary school with a majority population of white students and a minority population of students of color regarding school climate, belonging, racial identity, and culturally responsive teaching. She writes, “I truly could not do my job without the experiences of travel and immense love for the language I gained studying abroad in Spain, and my greatest hope is that I inspire new generations of language learners to also study abroad.”
Kipp Trieu (France, 2008-09) is in his eighth year teaching Kindergarten and First Grade, and is also the Lower Elementary Program Director at his school. He is in his last year at the Doctor of Education Program at Johns Hopkins School of Education. His dissertation research focuses on examining drivers leading to the underrepresentation of sociodemographically diverse families in school-based parent involvement programs. He writes that his experiences abroad, being immersed for a full year in other perspectives and other ways of “doing”, continue to inform his research as well as his teaching.Daniel Lee (Japan, 2015-16) recently began graduate school at UC Berkeley. He writes that he looks “forward to what graduate school has in store for me and will try my best for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Nicola Hil (France, 2007-08) and her husband Amaury Munoz moved back to the US in August after serving for two years in China with Amaury’s job as a Foreign Service Officer. They are now based in Arlington, VA while Amaury completes language training in Urdu for their upcoming assignment in Islamabad, Pakistan starting in May 2019. Nicola was recently recognized with the Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad for her volunteer work as a Foreign Service spouse in China. As part of the award ceremony in November, Nicola met Secretary Pompeo and Mrs. Pompeo and spent time with six other inspiring award recipients. Nicola and Amaury visited Ray and Verena in Davis in July.
Halley Neufeld (Henscey) (Italy, 2006-07) graduated with a M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology in May and is working as the bilingual speech therapist at two elementary schools in Imperial Beach. Halley writes, “Although I don’t get to use my Italian, I do use Spanish every day, as most of the children I work with are from Spanish-speaking homes. The lessons I learned in my year abroad give me an understanding of what it is like to live in another country and sincere empathy for the children and families I serve. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity!”
Jenna Carlsson(Senegal, 2005-06) celebrated the three year anniversary of her business planning events that make a difference for non-profit organizations. The work allows her the flexibility to travel, which she has done a lot of in the past year, visiting friends in Texas, Mississippi, Arizona, and Hawaii. She also had a reunion in New Mexico with six of the girls from her study abroad program in Senegal. Jenna continues to be involved in Latin dancing and recently started teaching Bachata classes. In November, she visited Ray and Verena at the Artists’ Collaborative Gallery in Sacramento.
Joachim Lyon (China, 2004-05) is in his second year working at Intuit. He is responsible for conducting global field research into the lives of small business/organization owners and using the insights gleaned to guide Intuit’s internal teams. He writes that “some of the biggest fun I had was traveling to the UK and Canada for field research on how small businesses in professional services industries often struggle to get paid. Realizing how comfortable I felt traveling to distant suburbs and interviewing strangers running small businesses out of their living rooms, I thought back to the very beginning of my ‘training’ in 2004 – when I studied abroad in China on a Borton scholarship.”
Brian Israel(United Kingdom, 2003-04) and his wife recently welcomed their second child, a boy named Dennis. Brian left the State Department in 2017 to join a space exploration company called Planetary Resources as General Counsel. In October, Planetary Resources was acquired by ConsenSys, Inc.
Ellen Holloway(Spain, 2001-02) is working for the Children’s Law Center in Sacramento representing about 180 children under the jurisdiction of the Dependency Court. She writes, “Earlier this week my office mate placed a phone call to a client, got his mother who only spoke Spanish and was struggling to communicate with her. I offered to help, hopped on the line and was able to tell her where her son was and who to call for more information. Despite using it very little, my Spanish is still intact enough to help, thanks to the year I spent in Granada.”
Ben Winkler-McCue (Spain, 2001-02) continues to live in San Diego, where he is the Executive Director of Outdoor Outreach, an outdoor focused youth-development nonprofit. Ben and his wife Maria try to travel the world whenever they can. Their latest trip was to French Polynesia to surf, swim with sharks and bicycle around the islands. Despite being a Borton Scholar nearly 20 years ago, Ben shares that “my year of adventure, language and culture in Cantabria, Spain really defined for me the power of new experiences and stepping out of one’s comfort zone – something that I now use on a daily basis in my work to connect youth to possibilities and opportunities through the outdoors. I can’t thank the Borton Scholarship family enough for their support.”
Austin Leininger (Scotland, 1998-99) and his wife Jane live in Santa Cruz with their three children. In January, he had the opportunity to visit Scotland for the first time since his year abroad. He went with his brother and his mother and writes that it was “incredible to finally have the opportunity to share some of the beauty of at least a couple of my favorite places in Scotland with them.”
New Additions to the Board of Directors:
In March 2018 we made three additions to the Board of Directors and elected new officers. Joining the Board are Chris’ dear friends Patrick McEvoy and Elaine Johnson, as well as his brother Ben Borton (who has been involved for many years as part of the Selection Committee and editor of the annual newsletter). Former Treasurer Dolf Starreveld took over from Ray Borton as President, and Ben Borton took over from Dolf as Treasurer.
Making Scholarships Available to UC Davis Students
In addition to the changes to the board composition, the Fund’s bylaws have been amended to allow us to extend the program to other universities beyond UC San Diego. Your generous contributions over the years have put us in a position to increase the number of scholarships we give each year and in order to enlarge the pool of qualified candidates, we have decided to try to replicate the success of the UC San Diego program at another university. We are excited to announce that we will be offering a single scholarship to candidates from UC Davis wishing to pursue a full year abroad for 2019-20. The scholarship is merit-based and applications will be considered based on the strength of the statement of purpose, reasons given why the candidate wishes to study abroad, and quality of academic record. The Borton scholarship seeks to reward motivated and dedicated student applicants who see the value of broader cultural and personal development that can be gained from a study abroad experience. We are very encouraged by our interactions with the staff at UC Davis thus far and look forward to potentially growing the partnership in the years to come.
Thanks to all of you who enable us to support the efforts of these remarkable young people to become world citizens and in doing so honor and remember Chris,