California State University, Chico graduate student Ashira Solomon will expand on her formal education as she spends a year studying Hebrew in Israel and serving as a research intern with the Institute for National Security Services, working on research projects focused on United States-Israel relations as a recipient of the David L. Boren Fellowship.

As an initiative of the National Security Education Program, the Boren fellowship and scholarship program provides unique funding opportunities for graduate students in the United States to study less commonly taught languages in regions that are critical to U.S. interests and the future security and stability of the nation. These areas include locales in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, regions that are typically underrepresented for studying abroad.

These prestigious scholarships and fellowships are extremely competitive, with only a small percentage of applicants awarded each year. Solomon was one of 300 students to apply for a fellowship this year, with only 120 awards granted.

“Ashira is a really amazing young scholar and professional,” said Diana Dwyre from CSU, Chico’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. “Not only is she one of our outstanding grad students, she is always looking for opportunities to apply what she is learning in meaningful and service-oriented ways.”

Solomon (Public Administration, ’17) is currently working toward her Master of Public Administration. She also studied in Israel as an undergraduate student and she’s been studying Hebrew at the University for two years. Solomon has ties to Ethiopian Jews through her own lineage, which truly sparked her interest to apply for the Boren fellowship.

“I’ll actually be doing research there on that community,” Solomon said, adding that she’s “loving that link between Africa and Israel.”

Solomon is the third CSU, Chico student to be named a Boren scholar in recent years. William Walker, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from CSU, Chico this month, studied for a year in Taiwan through a Boren scholarship in 2016. Political science graduate student and Boren fellow Jose Valdovinos studied in Egypt in 2011.

In addition to the Boren fellowship, Solomon is one of eight women nationwide who were awarded a Running Start Star Fellowship, through which she will relocate to Washington, DC, to intern with a female member of Congress from August 26 through December 14.

“Ashira has a natural curiosity and sense of adventure that make her a special rising star with limitless opportunities ahead,” Dwyre added.

Since 1994, more than 5,500 students nationwide have received Boren awards. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for the Boren Awards should contact or visit

CSU, Chico continually earns recognition as a top University for students who study abroad. In 2017, for the second consecutive year and the ninth time in 10 years, the University was been ranked as one of the nation’s top three universities for studying abroad when the Institute of International Education, a leading nonprofit educational and cultural exchange group, ranked our program second among master’s degree-level colleges and universities for the number of students who study abroad for at least one year.

A total of 315 CSU, Chico students studied abroad during the 2017-2018 academic year, with Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Costa Rica and Brazil the top five destinations among more than 35 available countries.