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Katelyn Sives ’13 to Study Sustainable Development in Brazil as Boren Scholar

  • Katie Sives preparing the Amazonian Tambaqui fish!
New York, N.Y. – Marymount Manhattan international studies student Katelyn Sives ’13 was awarded a Boren Scholarship from the National Security Education Program (NSEP) and the Institute of International Education (IIE). She will receive $20,000 to study and research sustainable development in Brazil through the School of International Training (SIT). During the first six months of the 2012-2013 academic year, Sives will study in Fortaleza, where she will conduct research on agrarian reform in the state of Ceará. Following this, Sives will pursue research in the social dimensions of agro-ecological farming practices in the Amazonian city of Belem.

“I proposed to study in Brazil because of my deep love and interconnectedness with Latin American culture,” said Sives, who lived in Argentina for four months in 2008. “Brazil has always been a place that has fascinated me and is an excellent place to learn about rapid economic growth in the midst of poverty and agricultural distress. Studying at SIT in Brazil will enable me to focus on the issues surrounding poverty, especially food insecurity and environmental degradation.” 

During the spring semester, Sives interned with Community Voices Heard, a nongovernmental organization that works to improve the lives of low-income families in New York City. Through this internship, she was able to be a part of New York City’s pilot participatory budgeting project, a democratic process that enables citizens to decide how the money is spent in the development of their communities. Read more about MMC students’ involvement with participatory budgeting. 

“This is a fantastic time to study and research sustainable development and food security in Brazil,” said Andreas Hernandez, Ph.D., assistant professor of international studies at MMC, whose academic work examines the cultural, religious and ecological dimensions of Latin American social movements. “The country has undergone a profound transformation in the last decade, emerging as a global power and the sixth largest economy in the world. Domestically, a focus on social programs has brought social and economic inclusion for millions of people who have been marginalized since the time of colonialism. On one hand, there is much for the rest of the world to learn from this Brazilian experience. On the other hand, there are numerous contradictions to be grappled with. For example, Brazil remains one of the most unequal countries on the planet, and much of the economic growth has depended upon increased pressure on natural systems, such as the continued deforestation of the Amazon and the heavy use of petroleum-based fertilizers in the giant agro-business sector. Katie’s proposed study and research will examine the implications of some of these contradictions.” 

Sives is the second MMC student to receive a Boren Scholarship since the program began in 1991. She follows Alvin Young ’13, who received the scholarship last year and is currently studying Arabic in Morocco. This summer, as the recipient of the Edgar and Lucky Eisner Endowed Scholarship, Sives will also study economic development in Bangalore, India. 

Following graduation, Sives plans to continue her studies at SIT in Washington, D.C., and to obtain a master’s degree in sustainable development. At the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Food Security, Sives plans to complete the Boren NSEP Service Requirement, which stipulates that an award recipient work in a branch of the federal government with national security responsibilities for a year. 

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to undergraduate students to study abroad in geographical areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. interests and national security, which includes not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being but also the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. The scholarship is named for David L. Boren, the former U.S. Senator from Oklahoma and the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the Boren awards. 

Adrienne Baxter Bell, Ph.D., associate professor of art history, serves as the campus representative for Boren and Fulbright scholarships and helps students organize and assess their applications to IIE. To learn more about the Boren Scholarship, contact Melissa Benca, M.A., in the Office of Career Services, which facilitates scholarships and fellowships through IIE.

Marymount Manhattan College is an urban, independent, liberal arts college. The mission of the College is to educate a socially and economically diverse student body by fostering intellectual achievement and personal growth and by providing opportunities for career development.