University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Geography

Sophomore Wins Prestigious Boren Award

Tilden Remerleitch, a sophomore geography major and Chinese minor, has been awarded a prestigious Boren Scholarship. The David L. Boren Scholarship is a nationally competitive award that provides up to $20,000 for students to study a critical foreign language in a nontraditional country important to U.S. national security.

Remerleitch, from Guilford, Vermont, first formally studied Mandarin in Shanghai during a pre-UVM gap year experience through a State Department-funded National Security Language Initiative for Youth. This summer, in Dalian City, Remerleitch will build her Mandarin language skillset, as a participant on the Critical Language Scholarship program. In September she will return to Shanghai for a full academic year, thanks to the Boren Scholarship.

The Boren Scholarship will fund Remerleitch to complete two complementary study abroad programs in Shanghai. She looks forward to gaining more in-depth knowledge about mega-city issues in China, while developing greater fluency in Mandarin and an improved understanding of Chinese culture. Her academic research interests focus on the energy, water usage, and environmental consequences of supporting mega-cities like Shanghai.

During fall 2016, Remerleitch will participate on the Alliance for Global Education’s 21st Century City program, located at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, where she plans to take coursework in urban design and city planning, and urban environmental issues. In spring 2017 she will complete intensive language coursework in a Chinese language-only environment, through the Council on International Education and Exchange’s Accelerated Chinese Language program.

In the future, Tilden expects to combine her knowledge of cultural geography and geographic information system technology with her linguistic and cross-cultural abilities as an analyst. She hopes to serve in a leadership capacity, perhaps for international emergency preparedness, conducting research, and doing prevention planning on issues stemming from urban and rural social transformation, climate change and globalization. Already bilingual in Spanish and English, she notes that her “understanding of the nuances of languages and cultures could make the difference between success and failure for a diverse team working under pressure.”

After receiving a scholarship, Boren Scholars commit to working in the federal government for at least one year using their language skills and abroad experience in a position important to U.S national security. Past Boren Scholars have worked in a variety of offices including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense or they have worked as legislative aides in Congress.

Remerleitch is the seventh UVM student to be awarded a Boren Scholarship in the past seven years. Last year, Michael Chilton ’15 and Colin Kamphuis ’17 received scholarships to study in Japan and Kyrgyzstan, respectively. In 2014, Sammie Ibrahim ’16 was awarded the Boren Scholarship to study in Kyrgyzstan. Erin Kerr '14 received the Boren Scholarship in 2012 to study in Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo. In 2010, Whitney Roth ’12 was funded to study in Morocco and, in 2009, Madeline Murphy Hall '10 was awarded to study in Jordan.

Undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning more about this award are encouraged to contact