Karen Boucias International Scholarship Fund

karen boucias

About Karen Boucias

Ms. Boucias graduated from the University of Maine and worked at other universities and colleges before returning to UMaine, where she was employed for thirty-three years. Because she had the opportunity to travel widely in her work, she experienced many cultures and brought back a world-wide view to UMaine. Throughout her tenure as OIP Director, Karen was dedicated to recruiting and retaining students from all over the world. She has great admiration for international students, their commitment to education, and their dedication to making outstanding contributions to their careers, countries and as citizens. She has been a member of numerous boards, including twelve years on the Board of Trustees for the American University in Bulgaria, which UMaine helped to create. She has had extensive professional experience within the areas of study abroad, establishing university partnerships and exchanges, immigration, and student and scholar services.

About the Scholarship

The Karen Boucias International Scholarship Fund was established at the University of Maine Foundation in 2018 in honor of Ms. Karen Boucias, who directed the Office of International Programs at the University of Maine for seventeen years. The raised funds will be used immediately to provide financial support for undergraduate international students who demonstrate academic achievement.


The 2020-2021 scholarship is open to students who:

  • started as a first year student at the University of Maine in Spring 2020 or Fall 2020;
  • are admitted as a full-time, international undergraduate degree-seeking student at the international tuition rate;
  • completed high school outside of the United States and have not attended college in the U.S.;
  • have met English proficiency requirements for full-time admission to the degree program;
  • have a record of extra-curricular involvement and/or community involvement;
  • have high academic achievement.

Application Form: Submit your information and application essay HERE

Application deadline: Friday, October 30, 2020 at 5:00pm.

Fall 2019 Scholarship Recipients

Priyanshu Bhatta (Nepal)

Priyanshu is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Priya is currently serving as the Public Relations Officer for the International Student Association and as the President of the South Asian Association of Maine. She has also been very involved in helping with New International Student Orientation.

Priya believes UMaine has always given her a platform where she can show what she is passionate about and build her leadership skills. She is grateful to be surrounded by such a supportive community, beautiful scenery, and excellent professors at UMaine.

Priya’s favorite things at UMaine? Biking around during the summer, and Coffee Hour – the best thing that happens every Friday! 

A thank you note from Priya:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who funded this scholarship, which is one of the most prestigious awards at UMaine.  I am so pleased that the University acknowledged the hard work that I have put through on my leadership skills and career goals. As a Business student my only motto is to “Strive for Progress not for perfection.” I am grateful that I’m pursuing my undergraduate degree here and very excited that in a few years I will be graduating from one of the renowned University in the U.S.A. I thank everyone again for acknowledging my potential and selecting me as one of the two recipients of the Karen Boucias scholarship.

Maria Vina Lopez (Spain)

student in front of folger libraryMaria is a first-year undergraduate student from Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She is studying in Biology with Honors and minors in Mathematics and Neuroscience.

Apart from that, she is the elected Vice President of the UMaine Chapter of Engineers Without Borders, and currently doing research on Fungal-drug interaction in the Wheeler Lab at UMaine.

A fun fact about Maria is that she has studied abroad in 4 different countries!

A thank you note from Maria

I feel incredibly lucky to be able to be studying at the University of Maine surrounded by such a supportive community, beautiful scenery, and wonderful professors. I look forward to graduating in Biology with Honors and minors in Mathematics and Neuroscience. 
I want to thank the Office of International Programs for their continuous support. I am thrilled to receive this scholarship in honor of Karen Boucias.

Fall 2018 Scholarship Recipients

Nikhil Vaidya

Nikhil Vaidya, a first year Biology major from Nepal, was selected as one of two recipients of the Karen Boucias International Student Scholarship for the Fall 2018 semester. Nikhil shared in his scholarship essay: “With its amazing curriculum and its resources, the Biology program at NSFA is perfect for me. I am confident that the rigorous education and the hands on research experiences that I will receive at the NSFA will provide me with a sound foundation for a career in Ecology… I am excited to begin my path to become an ecologist with the guidance from the University of Maine…; however, financial barriers make that difficult. Coming from a developing country of Nepal, my working class family will have a very difficult time to finance the cost of my education. Despite this, I intend to complete my undergraduate degree at the University of Maine. The Karen Boucias International Scholarship awarded to the International students will definitely help me reduce the financial burden on my family.”

Zarni Chanapatdaychaporn

Zarni Chanapatdaychaporn, also a Biology major, is the second scholarship recipient. Zarni is serving as the president of the International Student Association at UMaine. Zarni shared “I am currently majoring in Biology and I am hoping to attend medical school one day… I’ve always wanted to become a physician because my mother has been taking care of over five hundred orphans and one day I would like to continue to support her organization and share my medical knowledge and skills. I want to give more opportunity to the orphanage children because I also experience not having citizenship for many years. I want to be a role model to show that even though you may not have anything; you are still able to make big changes in your life… University of Maine is a right place for me to fulfill my dream to become true. This scholarship will definitely help me to reach them.”

Hear from UMaine International Alumni Why Karen is Important to Us

Dominika Trzilova’16

I first met Karen shortly after arrival on UMaine’s campus in Fall 2012. Karen was then the Director of the Office of International Programs and oversaw the International Tuition Scholarship Program. As one of the scholarship recipients, I worked with Karen closely, discussing my plans for courses, credit load and my major. In Fall 2013, Karen moved onto a different position and it would have been easy for us to lose contact. However, I saw a great potential mentor in Karen and sought her out for advice on numerous occasions. Karen was always very happy to meet with me and talk about any concerns or plans that I had for the upcoming academic period. In the process, she truly became my mentor and we became close friends. We spent time together regularly, even outside of the university, and I had dinner with Karen and her husband in their home on many occasions. I was also excited when I got invited to their Sunday brunch outings at Bagel Central or spent one of the shorter breaks at their house. Finally, it was my honor to have Karen attend my graduation ceremony and celebrate this achievement alongside my family and friends.

Karen is one of the people whom I credit the most for my success at UMaine. We have stayed in regular contact past my graduation and I could not be happier to call Karen my mentor and friend.

Petya Veleva’10

I’ll always remember Karen as a kind and caring person who loves UMaine and supports cultural diversity. Karen was part of many milestones of my UMaine journey – from my first day on campus to graduation. She stayed involved in all international student events and enjoyed learning more about each country represented on campus. Karen approached every student with the same care, enthusiasm, and genuine interest in helping them succeed and fulfill their dreams. I’m truly grateful to know Karen – she contributed so much to the UMaine community and made a positive difference in my life.

Lucie Hutchins’01

Karen Boucias played a crucial role in my academic journey at UMaine. In the Fall of 1999, I was awarded a full tuition waiver to study Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maine. As a single mother of twin girls with very limited funds, the cost of living while a full time student was a big burden. Like many international students, I did not have the flexibility to earn additional income to support my family while pursuing my educational dream.

Thanks to Karen, in addition to the full tuition waiver scholarship, I was awarded a living expenses scholarship. This financial stability was the stepping stone to my academic success at UMaine.

Thank you, Karen!

Ankita Tyagi’05, ’07G

During my time as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Maine, I found my interactions with UMaine’s Office of International Programs to be very fair and supportive. This could have only been possible if people at the helm understood the needs of the university’s international student community. Needless to state, Karen Boucias, as director of  OIP, played (and continues to play) a significant role in shaping policies and using discretion to support international students academically and, for some, even culturally. I am grateful to OIP, Ms. Boucias (and Ms. Gal and Ms. Joughin) for all their help and support through my undergraduate and graduate coursework at UMaine.

Here’s wishing OIP and Ms. Boucias many more years of great service.