8 UW-Madison students receive U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarships

Eight students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study critical needs languages during the summer of 2015.

These students are among approximately 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students nationally selected to participate in the 2015 program. CLS participants will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes this summer in 13 countries to study Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu.

The participating UW-Madison students, with language and host country, are:

  • Nicholas Zeller, Chinese, in Dalian, China
  • Shannyn Kitchen, Indonesian, in Malang, Indonesia
  • Lydia Greve, Urdu, in Lucknow, India
  • Leah Shapiro, Turkish, in Ankara, Turkey
  • Leah Tarabour, Hindi, in Jaipur, India
  • Alex Lenser, Chinese, in Suzhou, China
  • Michael Cypert, Chinese, in Suzhou, China
  • Elizabeth Sebo, Hindi, in Jaipur, India

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. The fully-funded program provides intensive group language instruction and structured cultural-enrichment experiences. Participants are expected to continue their language study and apply their critical language skills in their future careers.

Finalists for the 2015 CLS Program come from 49 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and represent more than 200 institutions of higher education, including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, minority-serving institutions and community colleges.

Consistent with the U.S. Department of State’s goals to increase diversity among international educational exchange program participants, the CLS Program actively recruits in states and regions of the United States that have been historically underrepresented in international exchange and encourages students from diverse backgrounds and academic majors to apply.

The CLS Program also promotes diversity in the independent review process, and includes readers and panelists from 48 states and the District of Columbia and 279 institutions, including land-grant public universities, liberal arts colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, Ivy League institutions, and community colleges.

In 2015, more than 450 professionals, including critical language faculty, area studies specialists, international education professionals, and fellowship advisors, participated in the selection process.

CLS participants are among the more than 50,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

The CLS Program is administered by American Councils for International Education and The Ohio State University / Ohio University.