Students awarded 2016 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships

Three Columbia College students have been awarded prestigious 2016 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships.

The students — James Davis CC’18, who will be studying Chinese in Dalian, China; Juan Fernandez-Herzberg CC’18, who will be studying Arabic in Ibri, Oman; and Alan Beard CC’16, who will be studying Hindi in Jaipur, India — will receive eight to ten weeks of fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences.

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of a U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

This years winners are among approximately 560 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to receive 2016 scholarships. The finalists hail from 48 states and the District of Columbia, and represent more than 200 institutions of higher education from across the country. Three other Columbia undergraduates also received this prestigious scholarship: Justin Wiggins GS’16, Cody Wiles GS’16 and Abigail Stickney GS’19.

Over the past ten years, the Critical Language Scholarship Program has sent more than 5,000 American students overseas to learn critical languages all over the world. The 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 Critical Language Scholarship Program also promotes diversity in the independent review process, drawing readers and panelists from a wide variety of institutions across the United States, including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, minority-serving institutions and community colleges. In the 2015-16 evaluation season, more than 377 professionals, representing 44 states and the District of Columbia, and 212 institutions participated in the selection process for the program.