MSU’s Phillips adds to national, international accolades with Boren Scholarship, expanding study abroad plans

Contact: Aspen Harris

Portrait of Joshua Phillips in an office setting
Joshua Phillips (Submitted photo)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State student Joshua Phillips, a G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Presidential Endowed Scholar, is adding accolade upon accolade to his resume.

Phillips is the university’s sixth Boren Scholarship recipient in the last seven years, and the award is among the latest additions to his growing list of prestigious honors. The junior political science and economics double major—who grew up in Australia but now calls Birmingham, Alabama, home—will study abroad in the country of Oman next spring as a Boren Scholar.

“I applaud Joshua for his hard work, academic achievement and commitment to public service. He has taken advantage of every opportunity to learn, explore and grow here on our campus and well beyond its boundaries,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “As a Boren Scholar, he now has a new opportunity to further develop his language skills and gain a greater understanding of this region of the world. I know he will be a wonderful ambassador for Mississippi State as well.”

The Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College student said after his family’s move to the U.S., he developed a deep interest in international relations and global development, which in turn sparked a passion for foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa and in his current MSU studies. His coursework also has included scholarly stints at the University of Oxford in England and the International University of Rabat in Morocco. Both international experiences were supported by scholarships from the Turner Wingo Honors Excellence Endowment.

Studio portrait of Joshua Phillips
Josh Phillips (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

While his significant accomplishments are stacking up, Phillips’ impressive travel experiences also are multiplying. During his time at MSU, he has gained two Phi Kappa Phi National Study Abroad grants, supporting his 2023 study in Rabat, Morocco, and a visit to the Noor Majan Arabic Institute in Muscat, Oman, this year. He also was a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the premier graduate fellowship for those pursuing careers in public service. His long-term goal is a career working for the U.S. Department of State.

Additionally, Phillips has received three U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships in his time at MSU. These include the CLS Spark Award for online language study through Egypt’s University of Alexandria; the CLS Refresh Award for an online language intensive through Morocco’s Arab American Language Institute; and this year, the CLS Award to study abroad at the Jordanian Language Institute. Also, he currently serves as a CLS alumni ambassador.

Phillips said several university faculty, staff and departments have helped him achieve his many accolades and goals.

“In addition to the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, the Shackouls Honors College is phenomenal. In particular, the Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, directed by David Hoffman, has provided me with outstanding mentorship,” Phillips said. “One of my closest mentors, his guidance has helped me be successful with several other applications along with the Boren Scholarship—three Critical Language Scholarships, a Public Policy and International Affairs Public Service Weekend Fellowship and being a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.”

Currently, Phillips serves as a researcher for the U.S. Department of State’s Mission to Yemen and as an English tutor at the Collateral Repair Project’s Hashemi Shamali refugee center in Amman, as well as a research assistant with MSU’s political science and public administration department. Also, he has worked for other notable institutions such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security.

After spending time away from MSU because of his study abroad and work opportunities, Phillips said he has realized just how much the university means to him.

“Having had the chance to represent MSU at other universities and see how it compares to international institutions, I feel a deep sense of pride for my university,” he said. “I can truly say I have deeply valued my MSU experience.”

Through his many professional and research job experiences, he currently has nine published reports, presentations and publications.

Phillips’ MSU activities include being a member of the prestigious PKP Honor Society, Kappa Sigma fraternity, Men of Excellence and Montgomery Leadership Program, while also serving as an honors college ambassador. Most recently, he was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society.

Sponsored by the National Security Education Program, the Boren Scholarship is named for former U.S. Sen. David Boren, the principal author of legislation creating the NSEP. The New York City-based Institute of International Education administers the award to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who represent diverse fields of study and are committed to enhancing their language skills and cultural awareness. To learn more about the Boren Scholarship program, visit or contact Hoffman, MSU’s Boren representative at

Crawford, Green named Boren Fellowship and Scholarship alternates

Portrait of Sakira Crawford
Sakira Crawford (Photo by Megan Bean)
Portrait of Madelynn Green
Madelynn Green (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Sakira Crawford, a senior secondary education major from Ocean Springs, and Madelynn Green, a sophomore anthropology major from Russellville, Alabama, also have been named as Boren Fellowship and Scholarship alternates, respectively. The Boren Fellowship program supports graduate student study and research abroad. As alternates, Crawford and Green could be selected if an additional fellowship or scholarship becomes available.

For more information about MSU’s Shackouls Honors College and Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, visit and

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