Political Science and Criminal Justice

Student Spotlight - Ashira Solomon

Ashira Solomon

CSU, Chico Graduate Student Awarded With Prestigious Boren Fellowship

Sean Murph, May 31, 2018

California State University, Chico graduate student Ashira Solomon will expand on her formal education as she spends a year studying Hebrew in Israel and serving as a research intern with the Institute for National Security Services, working on research projects focused on United States-Israel relations as a recipient of the David L. Boren Fellowship.

As an initiative of the National Security Education Program, the Boren fellowship and scholarship program provides unique funding opportunities for graduate students in the United States to study less commonly taught languages in regions that are critical to U.S. interests and the future security and stability of the nation. These areas include locales in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, regions that are typically underrepresented for studying abroad.

These prestigious scholarships and fellowships are extremely competitive, with only a small percentage of applicants awarded each year. Solomon was one of 300 students to apply for a fellowship this year, with only 120 awards granted.

“Ashira is a really amazing young scholar and professional,” said Diana Dwyre from CSU, Chico’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. “Not only is she one of our outstanding grad students, she is always looking for opportunities to apply what she is learning in meaningful and service-oriented ways.”

Solomon (Public Administration, ’17) is currently working toward her Master of Public Administration. She also studied in Israel as an undergraduate student and she’s been studying Hebrew at the University for two years. Solomon has ties to Ethiopian Jews through her own lineage, which truly sparked her interest to apply for the Boren fellowship.

“I’ll actually be doing research there on that community,” Solomon said, adding that she’s “loving that link between Africa and Israel.”

Solomon is the third CSU, Chico student to be named a Boren scholar in recent years. William Walker, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from CSU, Chico this month, studied for a year in Taiwan through a Boren scholarship in 2016. Political science graduate student and Boren fellow Jose Valdovinos studied in Egypt in 2011.

In addition to the Boren fellowship, Solomon is one of eight women nationwide who were awarded a Running Start Star Fellowship, through which she will relocate to Washington, DC, to intern with a female member of Congress from August 26 through December 14.

“Ashira has a natural curiosity and sense of adventure that make her a special rising star with limitless opportunities ahead,” Dwyre added.

Since 1994, more than 5,500 students nationwide have received Boren awards. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for the Boren Awards should contact boren@iie.org or visit www.borenawards.org.

CSU, Chico continually earns recognition as a top University for students who study abroad. In 2017, for the second consecutive year and the ninth time in 10 years, the University was been ranked as one of the nation’s top three universities for studying abroad when the Institute of International Education, a leading nonprofit educational and cultural exchange group, ranked our program second among master’s degree-level colleges and universities for the number of students who study abroad for at least one year.

A total of 315 CSU, Chico students studied abroad during the 2017-2018 academic year, with Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Costa Rica and Brazil the top five destinations among more than 35 available countries.

-Reprinted with permission from Sean Murphy. Originally published 5/31/18(opens in new window).


Ashira has completed her internship in Washington D.C. as a Running Start Star Fellow. During the internship, Ashira interned in the office of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a representative from Florida’s 27thdistrict.

Ashira with her Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ashira with her Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

As a Running Start Star Fellow, Ashira had many additional opportunities, including attending presentations by the German Ambassador to the U.S. and visiting the White House and Pentagon. Ashira will leave for Israel for her Boren Fellowship in January.

Ashira and husband in the East Room of the White House
Ashira and husband in the East Room of the White House

Ashira and Running Start Fellows at the Pentagon
Ashira and Running Start Fellows at the Pentagon

From Ashira:

I feel so honored and privileged to have been selected as one of the Fall 2018 Running Start Fellows. This amazing experience has made me realize the importance of women leadership in politics and the need for our society to encourage every young girl and woman to run for a political office. I am immensely grateful for all the mentors and relationships I’ve garnered since living and working on Capitol Hill. Running Start has truly provided me an experience of a lifetime. Working in Congress has deepened my desire to be a public servant and a change agent in my community. This internship has also inspired me to run for political office in the coming years. As i get prepared to make my next move to Israel, I am reminded of the importance of building positive relationships for my network as well as for the growth of the US international relations, I intend to build such network while I am Israel. I also intend to be a positive ambassador of the US in Israel, ensuring that I strengthen the alliance that we have with Israel. My plan is to learn the language, learn the culture, learn the politics, and soak up as much positivity I can garner and bring it back home to benefit the US. 

My journey to changing the world just began, and I thank everyone who has made it possible my professors, my husband, my family and my friends.

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at California State University, Chico.

With over 1,000 total majors, the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: U.S. politics, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

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