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Board of Directors

Yenal Kucuker
President

Connect with Yenal on Boren Forum
ykucuker at borenforum dot org

Yenal Kucuker was an EHLS Scholar at the Georgetown University in 2013. Born and raised in Turkey, he completed 12th grade in the USA and graduated with a BA degree in Geography and International Relations from SUNY Geneseo. He taught physical geography at Monroe Community College and worked for Pictometry Internatioanal, an aerial image software company in Rochester, New York. Following a Congressional internship in Washington, he was hired by the non-profit umbrella organization Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) as the Civic Engagement Director to run a nation-wide proactive grassroots initiative in advocacy and outreach. Yenal is a member of the National Language Service Corps and has extensive experience in interpreting and translating for various government agencies and private organizations. He currently works at the Voice of America (VOA) Turkish Service, covering the Turkish-American diaspora. Yenal holds a Master of Public Policy degree from University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Meghan Iverson
Vice President

Connect with Meghan on Boren Forum
miverson at borenforum dot org

Meghan Iverson was a 2005 Boren Scholar in Ukraine where she studied Ukrainian and Russian at Chernivtsi University in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.  She volunteered as an official observer for the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary elections and traveled throughout the region to study the development of Ukraine’s post-Soviet identity.   Following her Boren experience in Eastern Europe, she began learning Mandarin and completed a 2007 Freeman Asia fellowship in Beijing, China.  She graduated cum laude from Loyola University−−New Orleans with a B.A. in political science.  During her career with the Department of Defense, Ms. Iverson deployed to Europe and Asia and supported the US Navy’s ballistic missile defense missions, counter-piracy operations, operational planning requirements, and diplomatic engagements with regional allies.  She provided analysis for US responses to crises in Africa and the Levant, and supported coalition efforts during Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR in Libya.  She currently works as a Middle East analyst.  In addition to her professional work, Ms. Iverson recently completed the inaugural iteration of the American Academy for Strategic Education Introduction to Competitive Strategy and Net Assessment.

Elizabeth Kerr
Secretary

Connect with Elizabeth on Boren Forum
ekerr at borenforum dot org

Elizabeth is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was a Boren Scholar in Tanzania from 2011-2012, studying Swahili and researching Corporate Social Responsibility efforts with Save the Children. Prior to that, she studied Linguistics (with a minor in Italian Literature) at the University of Chicago and worked on a variety of community service projects focusing on refugee resettlement in the city. She now lives in Capitol Hill and works for the U.S. government.

Amanda Wilmarth
Treasurer

Connect with Amanda on Boren Forum
awilmarth at borenforum dot org

Amanda is a 2001 Boren Scholar. She studied Mandarin Chinese at Beijing Normal University from September 2001- June 2002, while working on an International Relations and East Asian Studies BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduation Amanda spent 1- years at a small business environmental services firm, where she worked her way to the CFO position. In 2012 Amanda returned to school to earn a Masters of International Policy Analysis (MIPA) fro the University of Wisconsin’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, and also interned at the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ North Central Consolidated Patient Account Center. Amanda now works as an Operations Research Analyst at the US Export Import Bank.

Elizabeth Tseng
Board Member

Connect with Elizabeth on Boren Forum
etseng at borenforum dot org

Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth studied in China as a Boren Scholar from 2009-2010. She graduated from American University’s School of International Service in 2011 with a BA in International Studies. Elizabeth’s study abroad experiences also include scholarships from the Taiwan-U.S. Sister Alliance to study in Taiwan and the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program to study in China. While a student, Elizabeth worked to empower Tibetan youth through her work at Machik, a non profit dedicated to strengthening Tibetan communities. Elizabeth’s professional background includes serving in China for the U.S. Department of State and her current position at the International Republican Institute.

Hainer Sibrian
Board Member

Connect with Hainer on Boren Forum
hsibrian at borenforum dot org

Hainer Sibrian received a Boren Scholarship in 2012 to study Arabic intensively at the American University in Cairo’s Arabic Language Institute. Hainer holds a B.A. in Political Science from Georgia State University in his native Atlanta, Georgia. Following graduation, he used the Arabic knowledge acquired during his study abroad in positions at the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta and the Project on Middle East Democracy in Washington, DC. He is currently fulfilling his service requirement at National Endowment for the Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies.

Ben Friedman
Board Member

Connect with Ben on Boren Forum
bfriedman at borenforum dot org

Ben Friedman studied in Egypt at the Arabic Language Institute (ALI) of the American University in Cairo (AUC) on a Boren Scholarship from 2008-09. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. Originally from Washington, D.C., Mr. Friedman has spent time at a think tank and defense contractors, and currently works at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). He speaks the Modern Standard, Egyptian, and Levantine dialects of Arabic.

Jessica Smelser
Board Member

Connect with Jessica on Boren Forum
jsmelser at borenforum dot org

Jessica Smelser was a 2012 Boren Fellow in Cairo, Egypt. She currently works as a Program Coordinator for Project Nur at American Islamic Congress. Before joining AIC, Jessica worked with other DC non-profits focused on utilizing religion as a solution to conflict. She received her Master’s of Arts degree in Middle East Studies from the George Washington University in 2013. For her MA Capstone project, she researched methods by which the US Department of State addresses the contentious issue of religion in politics and diplomacy in the Middle East. She frequently travels to the Middle East and enjoy engaging with people from the region in discussion about American culture, values and beliefs as a “citizen ambassador.”

Tye Sundlee
Board Member

Connect with Tye on Boren Forum
tsundlee at borenforum dot org

A native of Washington State, Tye Sundlee graduated from Willamette University with a B.A. in Economics. He then went on to study Russian, teach English, and research Ukrainian energy policy in Kyiv, Ukraine on a Critical Language Enhancement Award and a Fulbright Scholarship. Prior to completing his MBA from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, Tye volunteered with FINCA Tajikistan and studied Farsi and Tajiki on a Boren Fellowship in Dushanbe, Tajikistan from 2013 – 2014. He subsequently received a Critical Language Scholarship to continue his Farsi studies through the summer of 2014. Tye now works with Deloitte’s Federal Strategy and Operations Consulting practice.

Alejandro Alba
Board Member

Connect with Alex on Boren Forum
aalba at borenforum dot org

Raised in Miami, FL, Alejandro holds a BA in International Studies and Mandarin from American University’s School of International Service. He studied French in an international baccalaureate school in Paris, France, before concentrating on Chinese and U.S. Foreign Policy during his undergraduate career. He invested his 2011-2012 Boren Scholarship at Peking University in Beijing, China, while living with a homestay family. He currently assists the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) as a Communications Consultant and Alumni Network Member. Prior to this role, he assisted the Embassy of Ecuador’s Head of Public Diplomacy before working on Capitol Hill and Heineken USA through CHLI’s Global Leaders Scholars Program. Alejandro has also taught English and constructed libraries in Honduras and Colombia.

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