As an undergraduate student Daniel Gopman majored in physics, but he was also fascinated with the Russian language. He imagined that the combination of Russian language and cultural studies along with a rigorous scientific background would make him a unique resource that could provide technical and cultural expertise to the U.S. government. He recognized that Russia’s vast natural resources, and its rigorous scientific tradition would establish it as a critical partner for future technological developments. He knew that the ability to communicate with Russians in their native language would put him in a position to help facilitate these vital future scientific and technological exchanges.
Daniel felt the Boren funded program he participated on gave him the in-depth cultural experience and technological expertise that would be crucial to his advancement within the federal government. He spent a year studying at Novosibirsk State University and was able to complete the majority of upper division undergraduate coursework in physics, as well as some introductory graduate level coursework. He felt this opportunity gave him a unique perspective on his American physics courses, and gave him the chance to interact with Russian scientists and strengthen his vision of meaningful collaborative work between American and Russian scientists.
Today, Daniel is a physicist for the Material Measurement Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. There he enjoys frequent interactions with Russian scientists with whom he can converse freely. For him, these communications strengthen his understanding of global scientific and technological developments that can be used in favor of US economy and national security.
In a few words, Daniel affirms, “My Boren experience provided me the technical knowledge needed to pursue a terminal degree in physics, which has led to my current employment, and it has enabled my Russian language proficiency that I use on a regular basis to communicate with Russian– or Soviet– born colleagues and acquaintances back at home in the U.S.” He also offers advice to prospective Boren Scholars, “The Boren Awards are a unique vehicle...cultivating cultural/regional sensitivity, providing a skills set that will always enhance your ability to find meaningful work...Furthermore, if you have an earnest desire to provide expertise in area knowledge to the federal government, pursuing a Boren Award will help you to follow a more direct path toward your goal.”