Department of State scholarships awarded to three WUSTL students

Will participate in intensive study abroad of critical languages

Three WUSTL students have been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study critical needs languages this summer.

Bryan Abbott, a sophomore majoring in Romance languages and literatures in Arts & Sciences, will study Chinese in China; Hannah Highfill, a graduate student in Islamic studies in Arts & Sciences, will study Persian in Tajikistan; and Alyssa Yorgan, a graduate student in musicology in Arts & Sciences, will study Russian in Russia.

These three are among 575 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students awarded scholarships in 2010 by the State Department’s CLS program to study Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Persian, Russian, Indic (Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu) and Turkic (Turkish and Azerbaijani) languages.

The students will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in 15 countries where these languages are spoken. Recipients also will support their language acquisition through cultural immersion activities.

CLS program participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

The 2010 CLS program received nearly 5,300 applications. Representing all 50 states, students from a range of academic disciplines and U.S. colleges and universities were selected for scholarships in 2010 through a merit-based selection process.

The state department launched the Critical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas. The program is part of a wider U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need languages.

For more information about the CLS program, visit