Boren Awards and Public Service


Federal service is the cornerstone of the Boren Awards program. Recipients of Boren Scholarships or Fellowships accept a Service Requirement to work for the federal government in the national security arena. Award recipients are not guaranteed a federal job after graduation - they must secure a position themselves. This individual-driven approach means that Boren Scholarships and Fellowships application essays must include a compelling case as to why the candidate is, or will be, qualified for federal employment with national security responsibilities. Successful applicants make this case by relating their professional, academic, extracurricular, and volunteer experience to duties required of federal employees in national security positions.  The onus is on the applicant to make this connection. 

The NSEP Service Requirement stipulates that an award recipient work in the federal government in a position with national security responsibilities. The priority agencies are:

  1. Department of Defense
  2. Department of Homeland Security
  3. Department of State
  4. Intelligence Community 

If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in one of these agencies, the award recipient must seek to fulfill the requirement in a position with national security responsibilities in any federal department or agency.

Additional information about the Service Requirement, including a timeline for completion, is located on the Service Requirement FAQ page.  

Examples of Service

Since the beginning of the Boren Awards, recipients have fulfilled their Service Requirement in a wide variety of federal offices. Sometimes these positions include traditional national security responsibilities, but oftentimes these jobs are unique in their connection to national security.

Here are some examples of traditional national security jobs in the federal government:

Here are some examples of more unique national security jobs:

The list of positions above certainly isn’t exhaustive. Federal agencies have created websites designed specifically for people with no background in federal service to explore the opportunities available to them. Below are just a few examples, but more can be found by searching for "[agency name] careers" online.

Department of Defense

Department of Homeland Security

Department of State

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Intelligence Community


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