Thursday, May 9, 2019

Anger Dok, who will receive a BA in global health studies from the University of Iowa this May, earned a 2019 David L. Boren Scholarship. Born in South Sudan and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Anger will spend next year studying Swahili in Tanzania. 

The Boren Scholarship, an initiative sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), is a national, competitive program that provides U.S. undergraduate students funding opportunities to study languages in world regions deemed critical to U.S. national security. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

Anger Dok

Hometown: I was born in Renk, South Sudan. I spent my early childhood in Alexandria, Egypt, then moved to the United States in October 2000. I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School.
Degree: BA global health studies with Arabic minor

What drew you to your language studies?

I grew up speaking three languages, English, Arabic, and my tribal language, Dinka. Growing up speaking and hearing so many languages, I feel like I forgot the importance of language until I came to college. Once at the University of Iowa, I noticed I was forgetting how to read and write simple words and commands, so I enrolled in an elementary Arabic course.

How do you foresee this influencing your future career?

My dream career would be to work with rural and subsistence farmers in Africa, improving nutritional outcomes for their communities. The Boren is equipping me with the tools to do that. I will be learning a new language, completely immersing myself in African culture, and working with a nonprofit organization that focuses on food security in Tanzania. Boren is setting the blueprints for the career I would love to have.

What excites you most about spending a year in your host country?

I am most excited about all the self-discovery that will come with this process. I will be learning a new language and fully immersing myself in a new culture. It feels like I can finally put all the cultural competency skills I learned in my courses to the test. I am most excited about the food and music! I LOVE trying new foods and learning to cook cultural dishes. Music makes me happy; I am sure once I learn Swahili, I will be singing all the time.

Do you have professors or mentors you'd like to thank?

I would like to thank Dr. Theodore Powers [Department of Anthropology]. Dr. Powers has supported me through all the most difficult times in my life: from dealing with civil war in my home country to the loss of multiple family members in one semester. Dr. Powers has also been there smiling with a high five to some of the best times of my college career: receiving an award, accepting a research position, and being offered a summer internship. Dr. Powers has been a CONSTANT support system during my time at Iowa. Without Dr. Powers, I am not sure I would have been granted all these amazing opportunities, or even stayed at the University of Iowa. I hope everyone has a Dr. Powers in their life.

Explore the many funding opportunities open to UI students and alumni

Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance.  Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).