Greetings from the College of Southern Nevada!
We have many extraordinary students at CSN, none more so than Selene Moreno.
Moreno was recently notified that she was awarded the prestigious Boren Scholarship, a rarity for community college students and the first ever awarded to a CSN student.
She called it “the best news I have ever received.”
“I still think that this is all a dream,” she said.
The National security Education Program awarded just 171 scholarships this year out of 750 applications. The federally funded scholarships are intended to provide U.S. college students the resources and encouragement needed to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the country. Award recipients agree to work for the federal government for at least a year later on.
Moreno is a dealer in a local casino, working an overnight shift. She comes to class after her shifts end in the morning.
Now that’s determination.
She said she fell in love with Middle Eastern culture years ago, and even started a Middle Eastern dance club while a student at Rancho High School. She’s traveled to Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.
When she enrolled at CSN, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study. She took an Arabic language class, and she loved it.
“I was hooked,” she said. “I took all the classes I needed to take and realized that with my passion and knowledge of Middle Eastern culture and language, I could do so much.”
She applied for the Boren Award two years ago, but didn’t get it. Moreno was disappointed, but she didn’t give up. She worked on raising her grades, and asked for help from her English professor.
She crafted new essays, submitted an application this year, and won.
She had wanted to study in Egypt, but that’s not going to be allowed for security concerns. She’ll study in Jordan instead, a country she’s never been to.
“It’s fair to say that my hard work actually paid off,” she said.
This column ran online June 5, 2015 in El Tiempo.