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Friday, July 26, 2013

Iyabode Sodipo Receives Prestigious Boren Scholarship

A Bowie State University undergraduate with dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer will travel to her childhood home of Nigeria in the fall to study the Yoruba language, as a recipient of the highly competitive Boren Scholarship.

Iyabode Sodipo, 20, a junior criminal justice major from Baltimore, was selected among hundreds of applicants around the nation as one of 160 students to receive the scholarship. Funded by the National Security Education Program, the award promotes international study in areas critical to U.S. interests. After completing the program, she must work for one year in a national security role with the federal government within three years of graduation.

This summer, Sodipo is enrolled in eight weeks of Yoruba classes at the University of Florida to prepare for international study. In Nigeria, she will immerse herself in the culture by living with a host family and studying the language at the University of Ibadan in the western part of the country. Yoruba is spoken by more than 28 million native speakers worldwide.

An international relations class at Bowie State University exposed her to differences between the U.S. government and laws around the world, but Sodipo has always wanted to work in immigration law and study the traditions of her home country.

“Growing up in a household where my parents and my brother spoke the language made me interested in learning about the language and the culture,” she said. “I know what it feels like to enter a new world and be unfamiliar with the culture or practice. That's why one of my desires is to help those are unable to help themselves due to language barriers. I also believe that the law has the ability to transform societies and strengthen relationships among nations, thus creating a safer world.”

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