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 SRU honors student earns U.S. State Department scholarship 



May 13, 2010

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


Sykora-Bodie photo


SRU honors student earns U.S. State Department scholarship  


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Seth Sykora-Bodie, a political science, geography and French major and honors student at Slippery Rock University, has been selected from nearly 5,300 applicants as one of 575 undergraduate and graduate students to receive a U.S. Department of State Critical-Need Language Scholarship. 

            The award will allow him and fellow U.S. students to study critical-need languages in foreign countries this summer. Sykora-Bodie has elected to study Arabic in Tunisia as part of the language program.

"I'm looking forward to spending part of my summer in Tunisia because I have an interest in North Africa and Islamic culture," Sykora-Bodie said when reached this week in Egypt where is he participating in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Summer Honors Program study-abroad initiative. He and other representatives of state system schools are enrolled in the "Digital Mapping of Place and Space in Islamic Cairo" course that includes on-campus study at Clarion University and extensive travel and study in Egypt through the end of May.

Sykora-Brodie will return to the U.S. before travelling to Tunisia for the state department intensive language student program.

"There will only about 150 of us in Tunisia who received scholarships to study Arabic," he said.

Students selected for the critical-need language scholarship program represent all 50 states and a wide range of academic disciplines from U.S. colleges and universities. Participants were selected through a merit-based process.   

The U.S. Department of State launched the scholarship program in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas. The program is part of a wider U.S. government effort to substantially expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need languages.  

CLS program participants are among more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Council of American Overseas Research Centers and the American Councils for International Education administer the CLS program.

            Sykora-Bodie, of Harrisville, was recently honored at SRU's annual Academic Honors   Convocation as a runner up for PASSHE $500 Syed Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence. The award, established by Ali-Zaidi, a charter member of the state system board of governors and a strong advocate for the system's universities, honors students who excel in the pursuit of knowledge. The award was inspired by Ali-Zaidi's memory of his grandfather, Mir Wilayat Husain.

            Sykora-Bodie carries a 3.96 grade-point average at SRU and his classroom and extracurricular participation were cited as "excellent" in award nominations. He has participated in a model NATO delegation in Washington, D.C., and a similar program at the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to his current overseas study program, Sykora-Bodie has participated in two other spring semester study abroad programs. His visit to France included a presentation in French about the European Union. He has also studied in India, Costa Rica, Great Britain and South Korea and has studied both French and Arabic languages. 

Sykora-Bodie was a reporter/stringer with the Hearst Corp. newspapers for the 2008 presidential elections and covered both the Democratic National Convention in Denver and President' Obama's inauguration in Washington, D.C. His stories were published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Houston Chronicle.

He is a member of SRU's Honors Program and plans to do graduate work in international security and development following his 2011 graduation. His goal is to work in post-conflict reconstruction/stabilization and sustainable development for issues related to national security.

While at SRU, he served internships in the Office of the Governor, the Office of Public Liaison and the Office of Correspondence. He was an Election Day precinct manager for Obama for America, Campaign for Change. He served on the Campaign to Elect Kathy Dahlkemper, as team captain for the Presidential Politics Debate and was a group facilitator for the Deliberative Poll: The Issue of Marriage in America that was hosted at SRU.

He received the Paul F. Rizza Scholarship (2009) and the Robert A. Davis Scholarship (2008) from SRU's department of geography, geology and the environment, the Maree McKay-Esther Smiley Academic Scholarship from the SRU Alumni Association and the 2008 Association of Pennsylvania Sate College and University Faculty Statewide Scholarship. He earned the Donna Bennington Memorial Scholarship from the department of modern languages and cultures, the Sylvan Cohen Memorial Scholarship from the political science department and the SRU Honors Program Scholarship.

Among his extra-curricular activities, Sykora-Bodie was president of Pi Sigma Alpha, political science honor society, and a member of the Pi Delta Phi, French honor society, College Democrats and Amnesty International. He played for the SRU intramural Frisbee and intramural soccer teams.

           He was a therapeutic riding volunteer for the University's Storm Harbor Equestrian Center, was involved in the Slippery Rock Park and Recreation Ski Club and the Unitarian Universalist Association's Ohio-Meadville District.

           He served on the Outdoor Adventures Staff at SRU, and as a YMCA-Grove City lifeguard.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives. 

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