Madison’s Caleb Ray will spend nearly a year studying Arabic in Morocca as part of his Captsone.
Madison’s Caleb Ray will spend nearly a year studying Arabic in Morocca as part of his Captsone.
A Madison native will continue his collegiate studies this fall in Morocco after receiving a prestigious scholarship.

Caleb Ray is one of two University of Mississippi students who recently received a David L. Boren Scholarship from the National Security Exchange Program.

Ray was accepted into the 2020 Fall Arabic Language Flagship Capstone Program in Meknes, Morroco. Ray plans to use his scholarship to complete their fifth-year, known as Capstone, from August to May 2021.

Ray is to attend Arabic classes taught at the Arab American Language Institute in Morocco language center in Meknes, as well as classes at Moulay Ismail University. The program also involves an internship component, which can include a variety of disciplines, from media to law to carpentry.

"I'm proud of myself," said Ray, also a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies who received this year's Arabic Honors Award and was a 2019 Barksdale Honors Fellowship recipient.

"It makes me feel like the work I've put in for the past four years is starting to pay off. The Boren is a great segue into federal government work, and I am excited to see what opportunities the program can help me discover."

The success of these students showcases the university's commitment to language and cultural training, said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College.

"We always admire those who take risks to venture outside of comfort zones to pick up these incredible skills in language acquisition in very different historical and cultural moments," Sullivan-Gonzalez said. "Kudos to both, and we are proud of their accomplishments."

This year, the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards on behalf of National Security Exchange Program, received 851 applications from undergraduate students for the Boren Scholarship. From those, 244 were awarded. Also, 273 graduate students applied for Boren Fellowships, and 106 were awarded.

Boren Scholars and fellows will live in 39 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. They study 30 different languages. The most popular languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, Swahili and Hindi.

The other student selected was Gabe Menchaca of Huntsville, Ala.