Born in China, UO student will return to study under Boren Scholarship

Ming Canaday was 11 years old when a family in Sheridan, Ore., adopted her out of a Chinese orphanage. She spoke no English, and she required surgery to treat a severe case of scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.

A decade later, Canaday is studying international studies and Chinese at the University of Oregon, and she’s just been awarded a Boren Scholarship, which will allow her to study in China next year.

Canaday, a sophomore, is one of 151 Boren Scholars out of 944 applicants, according to the Boren Awards for International Study. She’ll travel to China in January and study at Najning University for until the next academic year starts in September.

“I’m very excited about it,” Canaday said. “I get to go to China and fulfill my dreams, and pursue my goal of being about to learn how the disabled population in China lives on a daily basis.”

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests underrepresented in study abroad.

Canaday is in the Chinese Flagship Program at the UO, which aims to produce students who not only understand the language but also the culture of China, she said. Last summer, she studied for a term at East China Normal University in Shanghai, a teachers’ college.

When she’s not studying at the UO, Canaday stays active by competing in wheelchair racing through the Adaptive Sports Club. She competes in the 1,500, 3,000 and 10,000 meter races, and wants to race in the 2013 Eugene Marathon.

After completing her undergraduate studies, Canaday said she may pursue a law degree, or a graduate degree in international studies.

“Because of my background,” she said, “I want to help disabled people all around the world, especially in China, pursue more productive lives — lives that are filled with hope.”